Brain dead pregnant woman taken off life support after 2 months

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John Peter Smith Hospital at Fort Worth kept a pregnant, brain-dead woman – Marlise Munoz – on life support for two months. On Friday, a state district judge ordered John Peter Smith Hospital to remove the woman, Marlise Muñoz, from life-support machines by 5 p.m. on Monday.

Following the judge’s order on Sunday and JPS hospital removed her from the machines, ending a Texas law that prohibits medical officials from cutting off life support to a pregnant woman.

The judge ruled that the state law barring doctors from withdrawing “life-sustaining treatment” to pregnant women did not apply to Ms. Muñoz because she was brain-dead and therefore legally dead. The hospital had refused to honor the family’s request to disconnect her, claiming that the law prevented them from doing so until they could perform a cesarean delivery.

The J.P.S. Health Network, which runs John Peter Smith Hospital as part of the taxpayer-financed county hospital district, said in a statement that the past several weeks had been difficult for both the family of Ms. Muñoz and her caregivers, but it defended its handling of the case.

At roughly the same time, about 11:30 a.m., Ms. Muñoz was disconnected from the machines as her family gathered at her bedside in the hospital’s I.C.U. Her body was released to her husband, Erick Muñoz, the family’s lawyers and a relative said.

Mr. Muñoz, 26, a firefighter in a town near Fort Worth, had found his wife on the kitchen floor in late November after she suffered an apparent blood clot in her lungs. He, as well as his wife’s parents, Lynne and Ernest Machado, had argued that she had died shortly after arriving at the hospital and they said they were disturbed by the move to keep her on life support.

“The Muñoz and Machado families will now proceed with the somber task of laying Marlise Muñoz’s body to rest, and grieving over the great loss that has been suffered,” Mr. Muñoz’s lawyers, Heather L. King and Jessica Hall Janicek, said in a statement.

May Marlise Muñoz finally rest in peace, and her family find the strength to complete what has been an unbearably long and arduous journey.

Source: JPS Health Network, USA

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