Canadian Baby Spurs Health Care and Ethics Debate

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Canadian Baby Spurs Health Care and Ethics Debate
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Added: 27-02-2011
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Transcript by BY ALISON SCHUTZ You're watching multisource health video news analysis from Newsy. A battle rages on between a Canadian hospital and a father fighting for his son to stay on life support. It's a fight that's gained a lot of attention from U.S. health care policy watchers. Canada's Global News has the story. "Moe Maraachli's 13-month-old son Joseph has a rare neurological disorder. He's been in hospital since last fall fighting for his life. Doctors say Joseph has no hope of survival and should be spared the struggle. Hospital staff received approval from court to take Joseph off life support today, but the family refused. They want to find help elsewhere or allow him to die at home." The Windsor Star reports the Maraachli (Mur-ah-chley) family wants doctors to perform a tracheotomy and allow the baby to live out the rest of his life at home. But the Canadian Hospital refused the procedure -- saying it could lead to infection and other complications. The hospital wants to take the terminally ill child off life support. "My son is not criminal to give him injection and let him die. We ask about treatment...that's all." Enter the brother of Terri Schiavo, Catholic bloggers, and a dramatic Fox News report and you've got the makings of a media frenzy. CNN reports Terri Schiavo's brother - Bobby Schindler - is joined by a coalition of advocates to help the Maraachli's case. "There are some parallels ... the family's intention is to bring the baby home and show him the love and compassion that only families can really give a child, just like we did with my sister Terri." But CNN spoke with an outside source - a doctor from a Pennsylvania hospice - that says at home tracheotomy care is hard to manage and requires the help of a nurse and respiratory therapist. But a Catholic blog, The Creative Minority Report, calls the hospital's denial of the procedure a "death panel". "Soooooo ... what happens if the tracheotomy fails? He might die. So to avoid the possibility of death the hospital is going to ensure death." Fox News makes the conversation bigger - turning it to a health care debate. ANCHOR: "I've been stunned by this story because as a parent, if my child was ever in this situation I would want to know that I have the rights to do with my child as I want to do!" Dr. Marc Siegel: "Here in the U.S., you have that right. Every doctor I know would put in this tube ... What we're worried about is that this is government superimposing restrictions, rationing. You know, worrying that there's going to be care here. Keeping the child alive too long. Government playing a larger and larger role. We're worried about that happening here." Media Matters throws a red flag -- saying Fox News is using the case of the Canadian baby to push health care misinformation and - quote - "fear mongering about a potential similar situation in America". The source calls out Fox's suggestive headlines - "Ordered to Die By a Health Care Panel" and "A Father is Fighting To Keep His Baby Boy Alive". And in response says: "In fact, the hospital is in no way the cause of the baby's coma or death, and comparisons between the health care law and the Canadian system are baseless." The Ontario Consent and Capacity Board released in a statement to FOX saying they feel empathy for the parents, but don't feel their wishes are realistic. According to, the Maraachli family experienced a similar tragedy with their terminally ill daughter 8 years ago. She was given a tracheotomy and brought home -- where she died 6 months later. Get more multisource health video news analysis from Newsy. Transcript by Newsy.

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