‘Death panels’: Canadian court rules baby’s life support removed against parents’ wishes -
One-year-old Joseph Maraachli of Windsor, Ontario will have his life support removed Monday at 10 am. after the Ontario Superior Court today rejected an appeal by the parents to bring him home where he can die under their care.
A leading anti-euthanasia advocate says the decision facilitates a system where doctors are authorized to force life and death decisions on patients, warning that this is, in fact, far worse than the “death panels” recently debated in the U.S. as part of the federal health care law.
“Monday at 10 am they will kill my baby,” Moe Maraachli, Joseph’s father, told LifeSiteNews shortly after the ruling. “There’s no more humanity. There’s no more chance. I’ve tried everything for him. No more appeals, nothing.”
“I asked them: why not send him to Windsor and let him die at home?” he continued. “They said they will give him injection, but I don’t want to.”
“I ask God, and maybe he breathe,” he added.
Joseph was taken to Victoria Hospital in London, Ontario in October where he was diagnosed with severe neurological issues. Doctors gave him no chance of recovery. Moe and his wife Sana have asked doctors to perform a tracheotomy so that they could take Joseph home, but the doctors refused, saying the procedure was too risky.
The Maraachlis’ daughter died from similar complications eight years ago, but in that case doctors performed a tracheotomy and she was able to die at home. Joseph’s parents want the same for him.
But in January, the Consent and Capacity Board of Ontario sided with the hospital, and a date for removing Joseph’s respirator was set. The family was able to hold it off by filing an appeal with the Superior Court.
Today, Superior Court Justice Helen Rady also sided with the hospital, saying that Joseph is in a permanent vegetative state with no brain stem reflex. She called it “a sad and difficult case,” according to the London Free Press, and ordered the hospital to allow the parents until Monday at 10 am. “to afford the family adequate time to say their goodbyes.”
Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, who has been communicating with the parents, emphasized that they aren’t pushing for extraordinary treatment, just asking to care for their dying child at home. “They’re arguing that the best way to do that is by doing a tracheotomy so the child can somewhat breathe on his own and care for him while he’s dying,” he explained.
“I don’t get it. There’s nothing here that I get. It makes no sense,” he said. “What is in this for the hospital and the doctor? Why would they bother doing this?”
“Is it that they want to simply say, we have control?” he asked. “If it’s about their control, then we’re in serious trouble. They now control when someone lives and when someone dies, and who makes those decisions, and how those decisions are made.”
Schadenberg said the court appears to be saying that hospitals and doctors can make decisions for patients whether they like it or not. “It’s worse than the death panel concept that’s being debated in the US. It really is, it’s much worse,” he said. “They’re saying ‘we will decide’, they’re not even going to converse with you. ‘We have the weight of the Court, we have the financial bearing of a massive government institution to be able to force this on you.’”
“That has serious repercussions, because you simply cannot trust the moral authority of the health care institution or the doctors,” he added.
“It’s the hospitals and the doctors once again usurping their power over the people,” he said. “That’s what’s happening. And they have significant power - they have the money and the courts behind them. It’s absolutely ridiculous.”
Jim Hughes, national president of Campaign Life Coalition, Canada’s leading pro-life organization, called the situation “appalling.” “I don’t understand it. Do doctors’ rights now trump parental rights?” he asked. “And what about the right of the child to die in the loving arms of his parents at home?”