A
fatally ill baby, parents who want to do the best for him, a hospital system
that has its own timetable for his death, lawyers, courts, security guards…

This
story
is heartbreaking, and it’s sparked passionate debate about many
subjects, ranging from parental v. state authority, socialized medicine,
euthanasia, death with dignity, even the politics and logistics of organ
donation. Many agree, however, that the family of terminally ill Baby Joseph
Maraachli has suffered excessively at the hands of the health care and legal
systems in Ontario, Canada.  

Moe
Maraachli says he and his family are treated like criminals at a London [Ontario]
hospital, never allowed a moment alone with their dying baby Joseph.

Security
guards won’t even leave him alone to pray with Joseph, who has perhaps just
days to live, the father said Tuesday. “I cannot pray like this. I want to cry,
I want to feel with my baby and I cannot do this.”

The
Windsor family is battling the London Health Sciences Centre over where and how
the 13-month-old with severe neurological problems will die. The hospital wants
to take him off a life-maintaining breathing tube and went to Ontario’s Office
of the Public Guardian and Trustee to seek the consent that Joseph’s parents
refuse — despite a judge’s order — to give.

One
wonders just what the hospital is afraid of—that the parents will kidnap their
own child? Or harm him in some way? Not likely, since it is the hospital itself
that wants to remove the child’s breathing tube and let him suffocate to death.
The parents want a tracheotomy performed on the baby, so that they can take him
home to die in peace, surrounded by those who love him. As one blogger noted: “Now
we know that the final days of a little boy’s life are worth less than the cost
of a tracheotomy, and compassion cannot be had for any price.”

Really,
really sad.

Mariette Ulrich is a homemaker and freelance writer. She lives in western Canada with her husband and six of their seven children. Mariette holds an Honours B.A. in English Literature...