An Ontario hospital says it has received multiple threats over a plan to take a terminally-ill infant off life support.
Doctors at the London Health Sciences Centre have refused a request by the family of 13-month-old Joseph Maraachli to allow a tracheotomy to be performed on the child.
They say the boy, who is on life support, is in a vegetative state with no hope of recovery.
The child's family want Joseph to live out his remaining days at his Windsor home and hope a tracheotomy would allow him to breathe long enough to be taken there.
The family is afraid he would suffer a painful choking death if doctors remove the feeding tube he is now being fed from.
A news release from the hospital issued on Saturday says the threats come from individuals in both Canada and the United States, but does not elaborate on the number of threats.
"The threats are being taken seriously and have come by email and phone and have been passed along to the police," hospital CEO Bonnie Adamson said in the release. "The health and safety of our patients, our staff and our physicians are our top priority."
It doesn't say who has been threatened, but says the "necessary steps" have been taken to protect doctors and hospital staff.
Joseph suffers from a severe and worsening neurological condition and has been in the London hospital since Oct, 2010.
Last Monday his parents defied a court order to consent to the removal of the feeding tube, prompting health officials to ask Ontario's Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee for consent to remove it.
The family and hospital have been trying to work out a resolution in the past few days.