A Windsor, Ont., baby who was supposed to have his breathing tube removed at a London, Ont., hospital was still on life support Monday afternoon, pending a possible transfer to the Children's Hospital of Michigan in Detroit.
Last week, an Ontario court ordered the parents, Moe Maraachli and Sana Nader, to remove baby Joseph's breathing tube by 10 a.m. on Monday morning.
The parents wanted the London Health Sciences Centre to perform a tracheotomy to help baby Joseph breathe so that he could be brought home to die, but the hospital refused. Now the family is trying to move baby Joseph to the Detroit hospital to perform the procedure.
The 13-month-old infant has a rare neurodegenerative disease. A judge and panel of medical experts determined baby Joseph has no chance of recovery.
On Monday, the hospital told CBC News that it is communicating with the Children’s Hospital of Michigan to determine if Joseph can be transferred.
"LHSC is providing the entire medical record to the hospital, and have agreed to await the decision of the Children’s Hospital of Michigan," said the hospital release. "At this point in time, we have received no official request to transfer Baby Joseph."
LHSC officials said they sent Joseph's 1,000-page medical record to Detroit by courier.
"This is an extremely difficult time for the family and our goal is to continue to provide compassionate care and support to baby Joseph and his family," said a London hospital release issued Monday afternoon.
Family fires lawyer
Moe Maraachli said after last week's court decision, his lawyer, Geoff Snow, wasn't recommending another appeal of the ruling, so on Sunday he fired Snow and hired Mark Handelman as his new legal counsel.
Handelman told CBC News that the parents refused to give consent to remove the breathing tube on Monday, and they are waiting for the Michigan hospital to review Joseph's medical records and decide if he is able to be transported to Detroit for the procedure. Medical officials there may be willing to do the tracheotomy and release the child to the care of his parents.
Handelman said the family is doing well, despite the circumstances.
"They are holding up remarkably well given the emotions involved in what's going on," said Handelman. "You can understand that they are fighting for what they believe to be right for their child and this cannot be easy on them, but I think they are showing grace under presssure."
When asked about who would pay for Joseph's treatment in the U.S., Handelman said those details were still being worked out.
Government may step in
As of Monday morning, the London hospital confirmed that it still had not received family consent to remove the breathing tube.
The hospital said the next step is to hand the case over to the provincial Office of the Public Guardian, which would be bound to carry out the court's wishes and remove the breathing tube, but the office was closed on Monday for the Family Day holiday. The Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee is a provincial body that advocates for people who can't speak for themselves.
"This is an extremely difficult time for the family and our goal is to continue to provide compassionate care and support to baby Joseph and his family," it said in the LHSC release.