Brain-dead pregnant woman's family sue to remove her from life support

Jan. 15, 2014 at 9:53 AM

FORT WORTH, Texas, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- The family of a pregnant woman being kept alive against the family's wishes filed a lawsuit in a Texas civil court to remove the woman from life support.

The family wants the court to order John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth to immediately stop any medical procedures, remove Marlise M. Munoz of Haltom City from life support systems and release her body to the family, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Tuesday.

Munoz, 33, was more than three months pregnant when she suffered a pulmonary embolism shortly before Thanksgiving and has been on life support systems since.

When doctors told the family she was considered brain dead, the family asked that she be taken off the systems, the lawsuit, filed Monday, said.

The doctors refused, however, citing a Texas law that requires pregnant women be kept on life support until there is a viable fetus, usually between 24 and 26 weeks. On Monday, Munoz entered her 21st week of pregnancy, the Star-Telegram said.

Her husband, Erick Munoz, has said leaving his wife on life support violates wishes she conveyed to him and her parents.

"Erick Munoz vehemently opposes any further medical treatment to be undertaken on the deceased body of his wife," the lawsuit filed in Tarrant County civil court said. "Marlise Munoz is legally dead, and to further conduct surgical procedures on a deceased body is nothing short of outrageous."

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