Judge Orders Hospital to Remove Life Support From Pregnant Woman


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Marlise Muñoz has been on life support since November 26, at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. She collapsed in her kitchen with what doctors believe was a blood clot. She was also 14 weeks pregnant. Her husband found her unconscious and she was rushed to the hospital.

Muñoz was being kept alive by respirator against the family’s wishes, and against her wishes. Marlise and her husband Erick are paramedics who were clear that they didn't want life support. Especially if one of them became brain dead or comatose.

When the family was told she was brain dead, Marlise's mother and father, as well as her husband Erick, asked the doctors to remove her from respirators, as the pregnant woman had urged them to do if she was ever in that situation.

However, the hospital refused. John Peter Smith Hospital had argued that it had to protect the life of the unborn child.

Further, hospital officials have said a state law prohibiting withdrawal of treatment from a pregnant patient bound them. Several experts interviewed by The Associated Press have said the hospital is misapplying the law.

On Friday, Judge R.H. Wallace Jr. of State District Court in Tarrant County, ordered John Peter Smith Hospital to pronounce the woman, Marlise Muñoz, dead, and remove her from life support by 5 p.m. on Monday.

“This is tragic and very difficult case,” the judge said before siding with the family and ruling that the state law in question did not apply to Ms. Muñoz because she was dead.

Regarding the baby (fetus) Erick Munoz's attorneys said that the fetus, now believed to be at about 22 weeks, is "distinctly abnormal." This information, they said, came directly from the hospitals medical records.

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