Baby Joseph's parents say 'shame on doctors'

Baby Joseph's father says he wishes doctors had told him his son was equally at risk of being born with a degenerative disease after his daughter died of a similar cause a few years earlier.

Father says no more children planned, time to honour son's legacy

The parents of Baby Joseph Maraachli, the terminally ill Windsor, Ont., baby who drew international attention during a lengthy right-to-life case before he died last week, say they will not have any more children.

His father, Moe Maraachli, also said he wishes doctors had told him Baby Joseph was at risk of being born with a degenerative disease after his daughter Zina died of a similar cause few years earlier.

Maraachli made the comments Wednesday at a news conference at the family's apartment building in Windsor.

Joseph Maraachli died at home last week. He was 20 months old.

Maraachli was at the centre of a right-to-life legal battle in Canada before receiving medical treatment in the United States. While in a London, Ont., hospital, Maraachli breathed with the help of a machine and received nourishment through a feeding tube in his abdominal wall.

London Health Sciences Centre refused to perform a tracheotomy after the baby's condition deteriorated, calling it medically unnecessary.

Family took legal action

The family took legal action against the hospital so Maraachli could receive the operation, breathe on his own and die peacefully at home.

The Maraachli family lost a provincial court battle, but still refused to consent to removing Joseph's breathing tube. American right-to-life groups took up the cause. The group Priests for Life flew him to a hospital in St. Louis, Mo., where he received the tracheotomy.

Maraachli and Bobby Schindler of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network on Wednesday sent the message "shame on your doctors." Schindler said there is no justification for government interfering with the natural dying process.

Maraachli said no doctor should impose death.

He said Baby Joseph was able to "die peacefully" and "with dignity."

"Doctors should not be practising judgment on a child's life," Maraachli said.

Maraachli had a message for his son.

"Fly and tell God about what happened with you and about the doctor that tried to kill you," Maraachli said. "Your life touched the world."

Maraachli called Baby Joseph his angel. He promised that in the days ahead, the family will honour the child's legacy and speak out to help sick and dying people.