The parents of a terminally ill baby boy who was refused treatment because of rules under Canada's health care system can now take him home after a successful surgery in St. Louis, Mo.
Fourteen-month-old Joseph Maraachli was flown from Canada to the United States for a tracheotomy. The procedure involves cutting the throat so that a breathing tube can be inserted.
Baby Joseph's parents requested the simple surgery in his native country of Canada so he could be released from the hospital and likely die at home. However, doctors refused and made plans to remove the baby from a ventilator against his parent's wishes.
The Catholic group Priests for Life eventually stepped in to help fund a trip for Joseph to have surgery at the SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center in St. Louis.
The efforts of friends, family, and a community of volunteers also helped raised awareness about baby Joseph's plight.
His fight for life has led to debate on the restrictions of government-run health care and the rights of terminally ill patients.
"We at Priests for Life continue to challenge those in our society -- whether medical professionals, government officials, or anyone else -- to stop putting a price tag on human life," said Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life
"The idea that some lives are not worth living belongs to a past age of worn-out philosophies leading to massive holocausts that deserve to be bad memories on the ash heap of history, not threatening clouds on its horizon," he added.
Baby Joseph suffers from a neurological disease and the prognosis is not good.
The Maraachli's daughter Zina died from a similar disorder eight years ago.