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Moe Maraachli displays a photo of his son, Joseph. The 13-month-old is dying in a London, Ont., hospital, but his parents want to take him home to die in the presence of loved ones. ((Craig Glover/Canadian Press))

Hospital officials have increased security around Joseph Maraachli, the terminally ill Windsor, Ont., baby whose fate is now the focus of a battle pitting his parents against his doctors.

The 13-month-old is in a vegetative state from a rare neurodegenerative condition and has no hope of recovery, medical professionals said.

His parents had urged doctors at the London Health Sciences Centre to perform a tracheotomy on their son so they could take him home to die in peace, but the hospital refused. The baby was to be disconnected from a ventilator on Monday after a court order, but that was delayed when the parents tried to get their son transferred to a Detroit hospital for a possible tracheotomy.

That request to have the boy moved to Children's Hospital of Michigan was turned down on Wednesday afternoon.

The Maraachlis said they've been unable to visit their child alone due to unnecessary security presence.

Alex Schadenberg, a spokesman for the family who also heads the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, said security was noticeably tighter around the hospital.

"They now won't let the family be with the child alone, and it's like, 'Wait a second here. We have never showed signs of ever causing harm to our child. There's no way we could take our child out of here,'" Schadenberg said.

"This is actually getting ridiculous. How come a family can't spend some time with their child?"

Support for the family is strengthening, with more than 7,500 people joining Facebook groups.

Joseph's aunt, Faith Nader, said she was grateful to know so many people were behind them.

"I just had a woman call me today, just from Facebook," she said. "She got my number, and she just cried to me on the phone, saying, 'I’m sorry what you're going through.' It just means a lot. It does. We just want to keep him alive as much as we can, and I believe God will be the final judge about that."