Brain-dead pregnant Marlise Munoz removed from life support, body released to husband

A prolife activist hospital in Texas has finally given up its battle to keep a dead woman on life support, disobeying the wishes of her husban and parents, so that she could give birth to her deformed baby.  Marlise Munoz was removed from life support today, and her body was finally released to her husband.

Some background from my previous story on the Munoz tragedy:

Erick Munoz found his wife Marlise unconscious in their home on November 26, 2013. She was immediately put on life support, where she remains to this day.  At the time, Marlise was 14 weeks pregnant.

Erick and Marlise Munoz, and their son, via Facebook.

Erick and Marlise Munoz, and their son, via Facebook.

The woman is brain dead, and her husband’s lawyers say that under Texas law, Marlise is legally dead.  They also say that Marlise made clear to her husband, prior to falling ill, that she would not want to have life support continued in this type of situation. The husband and her parents want the hospital to remove life support.

The hospital, on the other hand, says that they are required to continue treatment to a “pregnant patient” under a different provision of Texas law.

A judge ruled on Friday that the hospital must remove Mrs. Munoz from all life support.  We also learned last week that the fetus Mrs. Munoz was carrying was “distinctly abnormal.”

The 22-week-old fetus’s lower extremities are deformed and it is impossible to determine its gender, the attorneys for the woman’s husband, Erick Muñoz, said in an emailed statement.

“The fetus suffers from hydrocephalus [water on the brain]. It also appears that there are further abnormalities, including a possible heart problem, that cannot be specifically determined due to the immobile nature of Mrs. Muñoz’s deceased body,” the statement said.

The fetus, which was deprived of oxygen for “an indeterminate length of time, is gestating within a dead and deteriorating body as the horrified family looks on,” the attorneys said.

The hospital had until 5pm tomorrow (Monday) to comply with his ruling, thus giving them time to appeal it.  To its credit, the hospital finally stopped playing God with other people’s families.

I’ll be curious to see if the hospital has the nerve to try to charge Mr. Munoz for the time they kept his wife’s lifeless body on life support against his wishes.  As she’s been dead for two months, it’s an interesting question as to her insurance, if she has any, would continue to pay.


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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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