Saturday, January 25, 2014

Court Orders Vent Removed From Brain-Dead Pregnant Woman

A Texas judge has ordered a hospital to remove Marlise Munoz, a brain-dead pregnant woman, from mechanical ventilation. Munoz was being kept ventilated against her husband's, her parents' and her own previously-expressed wishes because the hospital believed it was legally obligated to provide life-support to her fetus under the Texas Advance Directives Act. The Act prohibits removal of "life support" from any pregnant "patient." The court found that the Act did not apply to persons who are legally dead. The court's order is here. The parties' stipulation of facts, including that Munoz is brain dead and that her fetus is not currently viable, is here.  Munoz's husband filed an affidavit with the court, describing his wife as rigid-limbed, smelling of death, and having a soulless look in her eyes. His attorneys had earlier described the fetus as developing abnormally, and today in court accused the hospital of using Marlise Munoz as "a science experiment" and as a "dysfunctional incubator."

The hospital, which has until Monday at 5pm to comply with the order or file an appeal, is considering its options.

Earlier posts on the Munoz matter are here, here and here.

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