Texas woman disconnected from life support

January 26
TEXAS
Woman disconnected from life support

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 Muñoz’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 order Friday 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 ends 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.

Muñoz’s husband, Erick Muñoz, 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 Muñoz 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But the hospital refused his request, citing Texas law that says life-sustaining treatment cannot be withdrawn from a pregnant patient, regardless of her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 Muñoz, saying in his order: “Mrs. Muñoz is dead.”

Wallace had given the hospital until 5 p.m. Monday to comply with his order, but officials there said Sunday morning that it would forego any appeal. Shortly afterward, Erick Munoz’s attorneys said that she had been disconnected from life support about 11:30 a.m.

— Associated Press

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— From news services

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