Let her rest in peace
Judge orders hospital to halt life support for brain dead, pregnant woman.
ERICK Munoz may finally get to bury his pregnant wife. A Fort Worth judge ordered John Peter Smith Hospital (JPS) to grant the husband’s request to withdraw Marlise Munoz’s life support.
As part of the ruling, state District Judge R.H. Wallace ordered the hospital to officially declare the 33-year-old Haltom City woman dead.
After the judge’s decision, Munoz put his head down and sobbed quietly.
His mother-in-law, Lynne Machado, patted him on the back and cried with him.
Marlise collapsed on Nov 26 after possibly suffering a pulmonary embolism. The hospital acknowledged two days later that she was brain dead, but did not make an official pronouncement of death.
In a case that gained nationwide attention in the US, the hospital kept her body going with machines against her family’s wishes.
From the start, emotionally charged debate centred on end-of-life issues for a pregnant woman and the rights of the foetus.
JPS officials cited a Texas law that prohibits withdrawing life support from a pregnant woman and the state’s desire to protect the life of the unborn child.
Wallace said the law cited by the hospital did not apply to Marlise, because “Mrs Munoz is deceased”. The order gives the hospital time to appeal. Shortly after the ruling, hospital officials said they “will be consulting with the Tarrant County district attorney’s office.” Assistant District Attorney Larry Thompson, who argued the case, did not comment.
Munoz also declined to make a statement after the ruling, but attorney Heather King said the family “can now move forward”.
When his wife fell ill, the Crowley paramedic resuscitated her and she was rushed to JPS.
Concluded: Munoz following his lawyers as he leaves the courtroom, after a judge ruled that his wife and unborn child could be removed from life support. — Photos MCT