Ear Hustle

Pregnant Texas Woman Dies After Being Taken Off Life Support Per Judge’s Orders

Marlise Munoz

The family of a brain-dead, pregnant Texas woman said Sunday afternoon that she has been removed from life support following a judge’s ruling that a Fort Worth hospital was misapplying state law in the case.

A statement sent Sunday afternoon by lawyers for the husband of Marlise Munoz says she was disconnected from life support about 11:30 a.m.

It says her body was released to her husband, Erick Munoz.

Erick Munoz and his wife both worked as paramedics and were familiar with end-of-life issues. He insisted both were clear that they did not want to be kept alive by machines in this type of situation

She was 14 weeks pregnant when her husband found her unconscious Nov. 26, possibly due to a blood clot.

Both the hospital and family agreed before Wallace’s ruling that Marlise Munoz meets the criteria to be considered brain-dead — which means she is dead both medically and under Texas law — and that her fetus, at about 23 weeks, could not be born alive this early in pregnancy.

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 garnered attention on both sides of the abortion debate, with anti-abortion groups arguing Munoz’s fetus deserves a chance to be born.

Legal experts interviewed by The Associated Press have said the hospital was misreading the law and that the law doesn’t have an absolute command to keep someone like Munoz on life support.

Larry Thompson, a state’s attorney arguing on behalf of the hospital Friday, said the hospital was trying to protect the rights of the fetus as it believed Texas law instructed it to do.

“There is a life involved, and the life is the unborn child,” Thompson said.

But on Sunday, the hospital backed down in the face of the judge’s order.

Source: NBC Chicago

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