Tarrant County District Judge R.H. Wallace has told John Peter Smith Hospital of Fort Worth that they have until 6PM EST this coming Monday to disconnect 33-year-old former paramedic Marlise Munoz from her ventilator.
Her husband, Erick, has been fighting to get his wife taken off of life support since November. However, the hospital he sued refused to comply with his wishes. The reason given by John Peter Smith Hospital was Munoz’ pregnancy and a state law that said that a pregnant woman couldn’t be denied life-sustaining support if it would harm or endanger the unborn child.
Munoz was determined to be roughly fourteen weeks pregnant when she collapsed from due to pulmonary embolism. At present, Munoz is in her second trimester and a court affidavit has said that the fetus is “not viable”, meaning regardless of whether or not Munoz remained on life support, the fetus would likely not survive.
Erick Munoz considers his wife legally dead and feels that “to further conduct surgical procedures on a deceased body is nothing short of outrageous.”
Rest eternal grant unto Marlise Munoz, O Lord, and grant relief and comfort to her mourning family.
— Jordan Haynie Ware (@GodWelcomesAll) January 24, 2014
http://t.co/5cdCUj51s9 It is difficult to imagine any situation more outrageous and degrading 2 her and her family. Who made these ppl God?
— Smilingl8dy (@Smilingl8dy) January 24, 2014
With the lack of viability for the fetus, there was legally no reason to deny the request of Munoz’s husband.
Sadly, this case isn’t unique in terms of the battle over the removal and preservation of life via ventilator. Jahi McMath, a thirteen year old girl who experienced complications during a tonsillectomy and other procedures went into cardiac arrest late last year. After being declared brain dead a few days after the failed procedures, her family became locked in a battle with Children’s Hospital Oakland, wanting to keep the teenager alive and find answers as to what went wrong.
An earlier and world famous case occurred in 2005 when Terry Schiavo‘s husband, Michael, won the legal battle against her family that would allow him to take her off of life support after ten years. He did not believe his wife would want to exist in a vegetative state.
There are no real winners or losers in cases like this. Only heartbroken families left to pick up the pieces as best they can, with or without closure.
— Joel B. Saawri (@Xplant) January 24, 2014
— Brian Smith (@brian_sthecobra) January 24, 2014
Image via WFAA TV Twitter