msnbc.com news services
updated 3/16/2011 2:01:24 PM ET 2011-03-16T18:01:24

The father of a terminally ill Canadian boy transferred to a St. Louis hospital after an Ontario court ruled doctors could remove his breathing tube says he won't stop fighting for his son.

Thirteen-month-old Joseph Maraachli arrived at Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital last weekend after the hospital agreed to treat him.

Joseph's doctors at Ontario's Victoria Hospital, where he had been treated since October, determined that he was in a permanent vegetative state and that his condition was deteriorating. Doctors planned to take him off of assisted breathing, which would cause him to choke to death since he cannot swallow or breathe on his own.

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Joseph's parents, Moe Maraachli and Sana Nader, asked for a tracheotomy, so they could bring the baby home to die. Doctors refused, citing risks of infection and pneumonia, among other possible complications. In late February, a Superior Court judge in London, Ontario dismissed the request of the couple to overturn that decision.

The case has attracted attention of anti-euthanasia and pro-life groups; Joseph's transfer to the Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital on an air ambulance was sponsored and paid for by an organization called Priests for Life.

Moe Maraachli tells the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he just wants to take his son home "and let him breathe."

Hospital officials say Joseph probably will undergo throat surgery this week to connect him to a portable breathing machine.

The Associated Press, the CBC and the Vancouver Sun contributed to this report.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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