• August 22, 2014

Family: Brain-dead Texas woman off life support

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Posted: Monday, January 27, 2014 4:30 am

FORT WORTH — A brain-dead, pregnant Texas woman’s body was removed from life support Sunday, as the hospital keeping her on machines against her family’s wishes acceded to a judge’s ruling that it was misapplying state law.

Marlise Munoz’s body soon will be buried by her husband and parents, after John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth announced it would not fight Judge R.H. Wallace Jr.’s Friday order to pronounce her dead and return her body to her family. The 23-week-old fetus she was carrying will not be born.

The hospital’s decision Sunday brings an apparent end to a case that became a touchstone for national debates about the beginning and end of life, and whether a pregnant woman who is considered legally and medically dead should be kept on life support for the sake of a fetus.

Munoz’s husband, Erick Munoz, sued the hospital because it would not remove life support as he said his wife would have wanted in such a situation.

Erick and Marlise Munoz worked as paramedics and were familiar with end-of-life issues, and Erick said his wife had told him she would not want to be kept alive under such circumstances.

But the hospital refused his request, citing Texas law that says life-sustaining treatment cannot be withdrawn from a pregnant patient, regardless of her end-of-life wishes.

Wallace sided Friday with Erick Munoz, saying in his order: “Mrs. Munoz is dead.”

Wallace gave the hospital until 5 p.m. today to comply with his order, but officials there announced Sunday morning that it would forgo any appeal.

“From the onset, JPS has said its role was not to make nor contest law but to follow it,” according to a statement released by hospital spokeswoman J.R. Labbe. “On Friday, a state district judge ordered the removal of life-sustaining treatment from Marlise Munoz. The hospital will follow the court order.”

Shortly afterward, Erick Munoz’s attorneys announced she had been disconnected from life support about 11:30 a.m.

“May Marlise Munoz finally rest in peace, and her family find the strength to complete what has been an unbearably long and arduous journey,” they said in a statement.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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  • JohnnyinHarkerHeights posted at 5:04 am on Tue, Jan 28, 2014.

    JohnnyinHarkerHeights Posts: 41

    So a massively deformed fetus that both sides say would not survive outside the CORPSE of its mother being kept alive by machines is a baby to you.

    Now that is sick.

    Twisted too boot that you see this as a case of an abortion.

  • Mamma Griz posted at 6:41 am on Mon, Jan 27, 2014.

    Mamma Griz Posts: 242

    enemy:: And what would you propose? And would you be willing to pay the hospital bill? What would the situation be if the fetus were delivered dead at the end of the expensive hospital stay.

    A fetus could be viable at 23 weeks and die in the womb at 4 months. Is it worth a gamble? You probably would gamble on a life or anything else.

  • enemy_of_pc posted at 6:19 am on Mon, Jan 27, 2014.

    enemy_of_pc Posts: 1

    I wonder what that baby would have wanted? Oh that's right, it is not granted the rights of "personhood" yet. What kind of father refuses his own child be born? Unless...