A Texas judge has ordered Marlise Munoz, who is pregnant and brain-dead, off life support honoring the wishes of her long-suffering family.
Munoz, 33, who was a Texas paramedic, was declared brain dead shortly after suffering a massive cerebral damage from what is believed to be a pulmonary embolism, back in November of last year. At the time she was a married mother of one who was 14 weeks pregnant with her second child. When the Munoz family, that includes husband Erick Munoz, was told she was brain dead they wanted her removed from life support. The hospital disregarded the family’s wishes and sustained Munoz’ deteriorating body by all means possible, thereby adhering to Texas law that is decidedly pro-life on all issues related to a fetus.
Texas law protects the life of a fetus in any situation, including inside the body of a brain-dead woman. All 50 states concur that when someone is declared brain dead they are legally dead.
Specifically, Texas law states “you cannot withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment for a pregnant patient,” even if she is dead. Thus setting up the battle between the Munoz family and the staunch pro-life factions of the state they reside in.
Immediately the plight of the Munoz family became an emotionally charged debate around end-of-life rights for a woman versus the rights of a fetus.
The judge was surely swayed by indisputable facts: Munoz has been brain dead since November 28 and that the fetus was “not viable.” Opinions shared by both the medical professionals and the family.
Now the John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, where Munoz is being kept ‘alive’ via a ventilator and respirator, must decide if it will honor the court order or appeal the decision.
Meanwhile, everyone on both sides of the debate is waiting to see if pro-life Texas will let the very dead Marlise Munoz rest in peace?
The court order states the hospital has until 5 p.m. Monday to remove Munoz from life support. Should the hospital file an appeal it will mean Munoz will remain on life-support.
The judge in the case treated the Munoz case as a stand-alone matter and did not rule on the constitutionality of the state law.