Hospital Insists On Keeping Pregnant Brain Dead Woman Alive Until Fetus Is Viable
John Peter Smith Hospital in Dallas says it has to keep Marlise Muñoz on life support until her 22-week-old fetus attains viability, even though the fetus has little chance of survival. This goes against the family’s wishes.
Attorneys for the family of a pregnant Haltom City woman who has been on life support at John Peter Smith Hospital for eight weeks issued a statement late Wednesday that the fetus is “distinctly abnormal.”
Attorneys for the woman’s husband, Erick Muñoz, said that the 22-week-old fetus’s lower extremities are deformed and that it is impossible to determine gender.
“The fetus suffers from hydrocephalus [water on the brain]. It also appears that there are further abnormalities, including a possible heart problem, that cannot be specifically determined due to the immobile nature of Mrs. Muñoz’s deceased body,” the attorneys said in an emailed statement.
The fetus, which was deprived of oxygen for “an indeterminate length of time, is gestating within a dead and deteriorating body as the horrified family looks on,” the attorneys said…
JPS officials refused, citing a state law requiring that a pregnant woman remain on life support until the fetus is viable, usually at 24 to 26 weeks…
On Friday, state District Judge R.H. Wallace is scheduled to hear arguments about the law and whether to grant the family’s request.