Brain-dead woman taken off life support

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AFTER a legal battle that became a touchstone in the abortion debate, a brain-dead pregnant woman was removed from life support Sunday as a Texas hospital agreed to comply with a court order.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/01/2014 (3116 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

AFTER a legal battle that became a touchstone in the abortion debate, a brain-dead pregnant woman was removed from life support Sunday as a Texas hospital agreed to comply with a court order.

Marlise Munoz’s body was to be turned over to her family, attorneys for her husband, Erick Munoz, announced. She had been on life support for about two months at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth after falling unconscious in her home Nov. 26. At the time, she was 14 weeks pregnant.

Erick Munoz said doctors told him she was brain dead. But the hospital refused to remove her from life support, citing a Texas law that says “a person may not withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment… from a pregnant patient.”

Both Erick and Marlise Munoz, 33, were paramedics. Erick Munoz said his wife had not wanted to be kept alive under such circumstances. He sued the hospital for “cruel and obscene mutilation” of a dead body.

Before Friday’s hearing, competing demonstrators gathered outside the hospital. One group demanded her body remain on a ventilator so the fetus could be kept alive. The others demanded the hospital “let Marlise rest in peace.”

Texas District Judge R.H. Wallace Jr. ruled the state’s pregnancy protection law did not apply to someone who was not legally alive. He ordered the hospital to take her off life support by 5 p.m. Monday.

The hospital considered whether to appeal, but announced Sunday it would comply with Wallace’s order.

“The Munoz and Machado families will now proceed with the sombre task of laying Marlise Munoz’s body to rest, and grieving over the great loss that has been suffered,” Heather King and Jessica Janicek, attorneys for Erick Munoz, said in a statement, the Associated Press reported.

— Los Angeles Times

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