|Thirteen-month-old Joseph Maraachli, who London doctors say is in a vegetative state with no hope of recovery, was flown out of London at 10:20 p.m. Sunday on a private plane to Cardinal Glennon Hospital in St. Louis, Mo. (Handout Photo)
LONDON, Ont. - A U.S. hospital will perform a tracheotomy on Baby Joseph by the end of the week, its chief of pediatrics said in a statement released Monday evening.
The hope in St. Louis, Mo. is that a tracheotomy -- placing a breathing tube in an incision in the throat -- would be used with a ventilator so Joseph could be moved to a skilled nursing facility, the release said.
"We are pleased to be able to assist the family in this very challenging time," Dr. Robert Wilmott said in the release.
The infant is still breathing with the help of a ventilator, the release said.
A planned news briefing for Tuesday morning has been cancelled.
Thirteen-month-old Joseph Maraachli, who London, Ont., doctors say is in a vegetative state with no hope of recovery, was flown out of London, Ont., late Sunday by private plane to the St. Louis hospital, his father at his Bedside.
"We don't turn anyone away," said Mary Aita, a spokesman for Cardinal Glennon Hospital in St. Louis.
Joseph's family learned Thursday the St. Louis hospital would admit the infant, said Claudio Martini, the Windsor, Ont., lawyer representing the baby's parents.
"There are no promises. They are ready and willing to do whatever they can do."
It took three days for medical staff in London, Ont., and St. Louis to exchange records and discuss Joseph's condition, and for hospital administrators to conclude negotiations over the transfer, Martini said.
The transfer was settled at 2 p.m. Sunday, he said, and arrangements for an air ambulance were made immediately.
"We decided to get him out sooner rather than later."
A U.S. group called Priests for Life claimed credit in a news release Monday for "rescuing" the infant in a "covert mission ... under the cover of darkness" Sunday night.
But Martini downplayed the drama of the transfer, saying medical and legal staff at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) co-operated fully and professionally.
"We certainly didn't snatch the baby out of the hospital."
Doctors at LHSC sought his parents' consent to remove his breathing tube, but Moe Maraachli and Sana Nader, refused and challenged the diagnosis.
The parents want doctors to perform a tracheotomy in the hope of extending his life as they did with an older sibling who died of the same condition.
The battle over Joseph's treatment drew the attention of interest groups in the U.S. and led to threats against LHSC.
LHSC officials said Baby Joseph's parents accepted an offer to transfer the boy, "despite the strongest medical advice to the contrary" from experts in Canada, the U.S. and Europe -- and despite affirmations from out-of-country hospitals that LHSC was delivering the most appropriate care possible.