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For Immediate Release:

March 13, 2011

         Baby Joseph airlifted to USA against medical advice


LONDON, Ontario – Despite the strongest possible medical advice to the contrary from medical experts in Canada, the United States and Europe, the parents of Baby Joseph Maraachli have accepted an offer to transfer him by air to the faith-based Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri.

His parents exercised their legal right to have him discharged after LHSC exhausted all its legal options in attempting to deliver to Baby Joseph the best possible and most appropriate medical care, given the progressive, fatal neurodegenerative disease from which he suffers. An LHSC medical team transported Baby Joseph to London International Airport in the presence of his father.

The private plane carrying Baby Joseph, and any care to be provided in the U.S., will be paid for by U.S.-based interests and not by LHSC. The plane took off from London at approximately 10:20 p.m. on Sunday, March 13, 2011.

"As one of Canada’s top teaching and medical research health care centres, LHSC physicians make their medical judgments in the best interests of every patient, based on experience, fact and scientific evidence. LHSC continues to be proud to stand behind their judgments and the care given to Baby Joseph. The judgments were sound, both medically and ethically, and the care Baby Joseph received from our staff was second to none anywhere in the world,” says LHSC CEO, Bonnie Adamson.

The medical judgments about Baby Joseph made by LHSC physicians remain unchallenged by any credible medical or legal source. Those judgments remain supported by 9 pediatric specialists in Ontario as well as pediatric specialists in the U.S. and Europe, Ontario’s Consent and Capacity Board, and the Superior Court of Ontario, as being in the best interests of Baby Joseph.

LHSC physicians and staff were targeted by well-organized social media feeds and directly via email with personal threats, threats to their families, innuendoes and falsehoods. The threats, many of which emanated from members of U.S.-based groups, have been passed along to LHSC lawyers who will liaise with police where appropriate.

Despite these intimidation tactics, LHSC physicians and administration continued to explore all available legal options to ensure that the best interests of Baby Joseph were met and Baby Joseph was provided with compassionate, quality care up until and during his transfer to London airport.

Prior to the St. Louis offer to accept Baby Joseph, a number of U.S. hospitals had refused, on medical grounds, to accept him, noting in doing so that LHSC was delivering the most appropriate care possible. A network of special interest groups refused to accept these facts and attempted to interfere with the most appropriate care possible by advocating for a hospital to accept the baby to implement an alternative care plan.

LHSC’s plan of care did not involve performing a tracheostomy, which is not a palliative procedure. It is an invasive procedure in which a device is installed in a hole cut in the throat. It is frequently indicated for patients who require a long-term breathing machine. This is not, unfortunately, the case with Baby Joseph, because he has a progressive neurodegenerative disease that is fatal.

Baby Joseph had been in the care of LHSC since October 2010 and has a severe and progressively deteriorating neurological condition. He is breathing with the assistance of a machine and receives nourishment via a feeding tube through his abdominal wall.

"This is a very difficult time for the Maraachli family and our thoughts are with them. We also appreciate the concern expressed for baby Joseph by members of our community," says LHSC CEO, Bonnie Adamson.




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