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Rhonda Robinson

“Baby Joseph” Ignites an International Health Care Debate

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Posted on March 1 2011 2:00 pm
Rhonda Robinson is part of NewsReal's editorial team. As a columnist, Rhonda has provided readers with thoughtful insight into social, political, and parenting issues since 1995.

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The short 13 month life story of Joseph Maraachli (Baby Joseph) and his parents’ struggle to direct his care has become an international controversy. Some say it has exposed the underbelly of the Canadian healthcare system, and given parents in the US a peek into our future, as the value of little Joseph’s life has been weighed, measured and found wanting.

Although there is no exact diagnosis for the neurological deterioration Baby Joseph suffers from, the hospital claims that he is in a “complete vegetative state” with no chance of recovery. Therefore it petitioned the court to secure consent from his parents to remove the baby’s breathing tube and die shortly thereafter. After his parents refused to give their consent, the hospital has now offered to take the baby home, and then remove the tube. An offer his parents can not accept. The family wants the baby to have a tracheotomy, that could prolong his life up to six months, and allow them to take him home to die.

But is that a fair comparison to what we can expect if ObamaCare is fully implemented? While the Left is sure this story is just another trumped up scheme of FoxNews to advance the death panel meme, and claims it is nothing more than a pathetic attempt by pro-lifers to spin a family tragedy for political gain. They are assuring us that this could never happen in the US.

FoxNew’s Megyn Kelly asked Dr. Cathleen London if that could happen here, to which Dr. London assured her that could not happen in America. London asserts that the family’s wishes are absolutely allowable here in the US, if not common practice, therefore, this could never happen in America.

The Toronto Sun reports:

…Joseph’s doctors say while a tracheotomy — an incision is made in a patient’s airway, to help breathing — may prolong the baby’s life, it’s futile in this case and would likely cause much discomfort. It would certainly also increase the risk of infection and pneumonia, they argue.

The board agreed with Joseph’s attending doctor that the baby has ‘no hope or chance of ever recovering.’

‘While we feel a great deal of empathy for the parents, we held that their view was not in any way realistic,’ the board said, adding Joseph’s parents, ‘were blinded by their obvious love’ for their child.

The Canadian health care allocation officials have ruled the child is to be taken off his life support and “allowed to die at the hospital.”

The question is not whether or not the child will die. The question is simply, how will he die?  “Allowed” to die, as the hospital puts it, means withdrawing a breathing tube, and standing by and allowing him to die without intervention. The parents definition of allowing him to die, is giving him a few more months of life that a tracheotomy promises, and allowed to go home to die in their arms.

The problem is that he who writes the check, calls the shots. Here in the US, individuals still have the right to call the shots, whether it is by securing other means of payment or hiring another doctor.

Can this happen in the US? Of course it can.

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