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Hospital Forces Woman on Life Support

 
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melikey View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote melikey Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 24 2014 at 7:48pm


Judge Orders Pregnant Texas Woman Off Life Support

ABC NewsBy SYDNEY LUPKIN | ABC News – 2 hours 12 minutes ago
  • Why Texas Fetus Might Have Had Abnormalities Before Mother Was Brain Dead (ABC News)

    ABC News - Why Texas Fetus Might Have Had 'Abnormalities' Before Mother Was Brain Dead (ABC News)

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A judge today ordered a Texas hospital to remove a brain-dead pregnant woman from life support by 5 p.m. Monday.

Marlise Munoz, a 33-year-old paramedic, had been on life support since a suspected pulmonary embolism rendered her brain dead in November. Because she was 14 weeks pregnant at the time, John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth said it was bound by state law from removing her from life support until Munoz miscarried or a baby was born.

Munoz's family said she never wanted to be on life support, and they sued to have her removed from it on Jan 14, arguing that the law didn't apply to her because she was legally dead.

Judge R. H. Wallace Jr. agreed. "Mrs. Munoz is dead," the ruling reads.

Munoz's entire family was crying when the judge ruled in their favor, Jobin Panicker, a reporter from WFAA, ABC's Dallas affiliate, tweeted from the courtroom.

The case has sparked a heated debate about whether a woman who is medically dead should be kept on life support for the duration of her pregnancy for the sake of her fetus. Although Munoz’s mother told ABCNews.com that this is not about abortion for them, the case has also garnered attention from both sides of the abortion debate.

"It's very frustrating because we know what our daughter wanted, and we're not about to honor that because of this law," Munoz’s mother, Lynne Machado told ABCNews.com in December, before deciding to contest the law.

On Wednesday, the family’s lawyers announced that the 22-week-old fetus was “distinctly abnormal,” with water on the brain, a possible heart condition and lower extremity deformities.

Texas law states that "a person may not withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment under this subchapter from a pregnant patient," but the judge determined it doesn’t apply to Munoz because she is already legally dead. In Texas, death is legally defined as “the "irreversible cessation of the person's spontaneous respiratory and circulatory functions," according to the Munoz family’s legal filing.

According to the suit, the hospital has interpreted the law in a way that "makes no sense and amounts to nothing more than the cruel and obscene mutilation of a deceased body against the expressed will of the deceased and her family."

They also questioned whether the law was constitutional, but the judge did not make a ruling on this.

Because John Peter Smith Hospital is a local public hospital, the Tarrant County District Attorney's office represented it. On behalf of the hospital, the office filed its response to the suit last week, in which it denied all allegations.

Read about how Christmas was Munoz's favorite holiday and a confusing time for her family.

The family's heartbreak began on Nov. 26, when Munoz got out of bed in the middle of the night because her 14-month-old son, Mateo, began to cry, Machado said. When the baby continued to cry and Munoz didn't return, Munoz's firefighter husband got up too. That's when he found Munoz on the kitchen floor. She was not breathing and had no pulse. Her skin had taken on a bluish color, Machado said.

Doctors suspect she had a pulmonary embolism, or a blood clot in the lungs, but they won't know until an autopsy can be performed, Machado said.

"It's hard to reach the point where you wish your wife's body would stop," Erick Munoz told ABC News' Dallas-Fort Worth affiliate WFAA-TV.

Machado initially said family members wouldn't fight the law until after her daughter was finally taken off life support because she thought the hospital's hands were tied by the law, and didn't blame the doctors for the situation. But they want the public to know that this can happen.

Although Internet commenters have made the family's situation into an abortion rights issue, Machado said the family has shared its story to educate the public about a law it never knew existed.

"Hopefully, no family has to go through this hell we've had to go through," she said.

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carolina cutie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (3) Thanks(3)   Quote carolina cutie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 24 2014 at 7:50pm
I know it wasn't considered but I wonder if the fact that the fetus was recently found to be severely deformed had any effect on the ruling.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sang Froid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 24 2014 at 7:56pm
Good.
RIP now.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Ladycoils Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 24 2014 at 8:01pm
Yes, Carolina I think it helped that the fetus had deformities. The family would have had grounds to sue the hospital for not terminating the pregnancy given the conditions off the fetus and the cost that would be associated with caring for the child if birth to term.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote india100 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 24 2014 at 8:03pm
Originally posted by carolina cutie carolina cutie wrote:

I know it wasn't considered but I wonder if the fact that the fetus was recently found to be severely deformed had any effect on the ruling.
I saw the breaking news a few hours ago CC. The husband lawyer made that claim about the baby . I am waiting for the hospital statement . I am against killing the baby if nothing is wrong . I really thought from day one , hubby killed the woman . He was to quick to end her and the baby life .

Edited by india100 - Jan 24 2014 at 8:03pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Katrenia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 24 2014 at 9:01pm
The family may still get a bill and I hope they continue to sue the hospital if they do.

After the woman was declared brain dead in Nov. I doubt health ins. would continue to cover the fees. Health ins. doesn't cover the dead. 
So if this new ruling states that the hospital was in error of the law then her heath ins. would have terminated at the time of her death. The baby would not have been viable outside the womb so when mom dies so would the baby.

If the hospital went out on a limb and misinterpreted the law, they should be held financially responsible from the time of woman's Nov. death.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote purple.chuckz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 24 2014 at 9:10pm
Her poor family. That hospital has a huge lawsuit coming their way. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (3) Thanks(3)   Quote purple.chuckz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 24 2014 at 9:12pm
If you respect her right to life, you also better respect her right to die in a dignified matter.
The family's lawyers aren't psychic, which means that there were medical procedures done to determine what condition the fetus was in. 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NARSAddict Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 24 2014 at 9:18pm
Was the hospital affiliated to a religion?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Tbaby Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 24 2014 at 9:56pm
The hospital is a county hospital (public).  The family lawyers do say the child has deformities, and the hospital legally can't comment on that due to health privacy laws.

Sad situation all around.

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