'Baby Joseph' to Undergo Surgery for Portable Breathing Tube at U.S. Hospital

The terminally ill Canadian baby at the center of a right-to-life dispute will undergo surgery this week to connect him to a portable breathing machine, Fox News has confirmed.

Thirteen-month-old Joseph Maraachli, known to the world as "Baby Joseph," is scheduled for a tracheotomy at a U.S. hospital on Thursday or Friday.

The baby, who was hours away from being pulled off life support at a hospital in Canada, was rescued over the weekend by the national director of Priests for Life and taken to SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center in St. Louis, Mo., for treatment.

The boy suffers from a rare, progressive neurological disease which, Canadian doctors say, has left him in a vegetative state beyond recovery. He has been at the Children's Hospital in London, Ontario, since the fall.

Doctors in Canada said the illness is irreversible and wanted to remove the breathing tube. His parents, Moe and Sana Maraachli, wanted the boy do undergo a tracheotomy so that he could spend his remaining days at home.

Joseph's parents had appealed to Canadian courts, but the hospital's decision was upheld. The boy was then taken by the Rev. Frank Pavone and other Priests for Life staff to Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital, where doctors agreed to treat him.

Moe Maraachli, the boy's father, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Tuesday that he just wants to take his son home "and let him breathe."

The Associated Press contributed to this report