Marlisa Munoz: Texas judge orders hospital to remove life support of pregnant brain-dead woman
33-year-old was 14 weeks pregnant when she fell unconscious in November
Saturday 25 January 2014
A judge on Friday ordered a Texas hospital to remove life support for a pregnant, brain-dead woman whose family had argued that she would not want to be kept in that condition.
The judge issued the ruling in the case of Marlisa Munoz, who was being kept alive in a hospital in Fort Worth against her family's wishes. The judge gave the hospital until 5 pm on Monday local time to remove life support.
The case has raised questions about end-of-life care and whether a pregnant woman who is considered legally and medically dead should be kept on life support for the sake of a fetus. It also has caught the attention of both sides of the abortion debate, with anti-abortion groups arguing Munoz's fetus deserves a chance to be born.
Munoz was 14 weeks pregnant when her husband found her unconscious on November 26, possibly due to a blood clot.
Erick Munoz says he and his wife are paramedics who were clear about not wanting life support in this type of situation. His attorney argued that keeping the woman alive would set a dangerous precedent for similar cases in the future.
John Peter Smith Hospital maintained it had to protect the life of the unborn child. Hospital officials said they were bound by a state law prohibiting withdrawal of treatment from a pregnantpatient. Several experts interviewed by The Associated Press have said the hospital was misapplying the law.
The hospital said in a statement Friday that it "appreciates the potential impact of the consequences of the order on all parties involved" and was deciding whether to appeal.
Earlier this week, Erick Munoz's attorneys said the fetus, now believed to be at about 22 weeks' gestation, is "distinctly abnormal." They attorneys said they based that statement on medical records they received from the hospital.
The local district attorney's office, which is representing the hospital in the lawsuit, said the hospital was expected to issue a statement later Friday in response to the ruling.
Not much is known about fetal survival when mothers suffer brain death during pregnancy. German doctors who searched for such cases found 30 instances of survival over nearly 30 years, according to an article published in the journal BMC Medicine in 2010.
But those mothers were further along in pregnancy — 22 weeks on average — when brain death occurred.
- 1 Florida man sentenced to two-and-a-half years for having sex on the beach in front of a child
- 2 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 4 World learns of app that shows you who unfriended you on Facebook, app promptly crashes
- 5 Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
Florida man sentenced to two-and-a-half years for having sex on the beach in front of a child
Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
Man who was struck and killed by lightning in Brecon Beacons 'was carrying a selfie stick'
Greece debt crisis as it happened: EU chiefs at loggerheads hours before Alexis Tsipras’s last ditch deal proposals
Bakery sends 'horrific' version of Frozen-themed birthday cake to unsuspecting customer
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
Greece debt crisis: Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande issue Athens with 24-hour ultimatum to avoid crashing out of the euro
Greece crisis: Referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its lack of genuine legitimacy
£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...
£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...
£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...
£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...