Thursday, January 23, 2014

Ventilating the Dead, Continued

Though she is brain-dead, Marlise Munoz is being kept ventilated against her husband's, her parents', and her own previously-expressed wishes. The Texas hospital where she is being kept argues that this course of action may be required by the Texas Advance Directives Act, which makes it illegal to disconnect any "patient" from "life-support"--if that patient is pregnant. Munoz was 14 weeks pregnant when she died; her fetus is now 22 weeks old. A hearing tomorrow should determine whether ventilation of the dead counts as "life support" under the Act, and whether a dead person is a "patient." Meanwhile, her husband's attorneys point out that the fetus suffered from the same lack of oxygen that destroyed Munoz's brain:
"According to the medical records we have been provided, the fetus is distinctly abnormal," the attorneys said. "Even at this early stage, the lower extremities are deformed to the extent that the gender cannot be determined." The attorneys said the fetus also has fluid building up inside the skull and possibly has a heart problem.

"Quite sadly, this information is not surprising due to the fact that the fetus, after being deprived of oxygen for an indeterminate length of time, is gestating within a dead and deteriorating body, as a horrified family looks on in absolute anguish, distress and sadness," the attorneys said.
 Previous posts on Munoz here and here.


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