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11 / 03 / 2011 - Baby Joseph`s dad prays for miracle
Moe Maraachli says he is praying for a miracle, but not only for his dying son.
He said all he wants is his little boy, Joseph, to have a fighting chance at life.
And, Maraachli said, he wants the stone removed from the chest of Baby Joseph's doctor and "put (in) a heart for him... Maybe he be human like us."
Maraachli, 37, wants his son's doctor to put in a tracheotomy and allow his baby to go home to Windsor, Ont., to die. The grieving dad hasn't changed his sad tune since his son's condition worsened after being admitted to hospital in London, Ont.
All weekend, more people joined in the chorus.
There were emotional and strong words in the latest chapter in the case of the baby with the irreversible neurological disease, who has been in the London Health Sciences pediatric critical care unit since October.
On Saturday and Sunday there were vigils outside the hospital with people attending from across North America. They included members of the U.S.-based Christian Defense Coalition and the Terri Schiavo Life and Hope Network -- named after the Florida woman who was at the centre of a high-profile U.S. battle over the removal of her feeding tube. The groups entered the campaign to support the family's desire to get Joseph home.
Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition vowed they will continue in their search to find another hospital willing to take over Baby Joseph's care, after disappointment last week when a Detroit hospital declined to have Joseph transferred there.
They plan to be back to hold more weekend vigils.
"I'm sure if we ask God for a miracle, miracles (will) happen," Maraachli told the group.
Baby Joseph is on a breathing machine and fed through a tube. Doctors say his neurological condition has deteriorated so much he is in a "persistent vegetative state," and is blind and deaf, with no brain stem function.
The baby has become a lightning rod for public opinion about end-of-life decisions.
The family wants Joseph to have a tracheotomy -- an incision in the windpipe -- so that they can take the boy home and care for him by ventilating and removing secretions, as they did when their daughter, Zina, suffered the same condition. She died at home eight years ago.
Doctors, including a world-renowned expert from the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children, say that procedure isn't an option. It's too risky, can cause complications including pneumonia and wouldn't improve Joseph's well-being or his quality of life.
The doctors want to remove the breathing tube in hospital and provide palliative care until the child's death.
They have said consistently that if he did breathe on his own after the removal of the tube, he could go home. Late last week, the offer was improved -- hospital staff would go with Joseph when he is transferred home and remove the ventilator there.
A Superior Court ruled not to allow an appeal of a decision by the Consent and Capacity board to withdraw his breathing machine,
When the doctor presented his case to that health ministry-appointed board, it was noted that there had been "many attempts" to have the baby breathe spontaneously on the ventilator, but within minutes, the ventilator reverts to a backup rate because there hasn't been any breathing.
At the Saturday rally, a basket was passed around the room, raising $4,000 for the family to help with their struggle. They also had
T-shirts and CDs for sale from a local performer, with all the money going to the family.
Maraachli came to Canada from Lebanon 11 years ago.
"You are all my family," he told the two dozen people at the hotel rally.
Maraachli said after the speeches that he doesn't trust the doctors anymore and believes they are misleading other hospitals who might take Joseph on. He said they won't let him have Joseph's medical records and can't understand why there is extra security at the hospital.
"I think they mislead too much. No comment for the reason. I don't know why," he said.
"Joseph, he doing well. He's not (getting) worse. He's good," he said.
"I give him his bath. He's stretching. He knows me when I come talk to him. His head is moving to me."
The father said he believes his son can breathe on his own and "just has trouble with secretions."
"They put him on machine. They said the machine keep him alive. They're wrong. They play God on Earth," he said.
He said his hope remains that they can take him home and, "when the brain tell him to stop breathing, no more breathing, he die by God's hand. That's all I ask."
Source: Toronto Sun