Judge to Hospital: Let Brain-Dead Pregnant Woman Die
He orders facility to remove her from life support
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 24, 2014 4:51 PM CST
Erick Munoz stands with an undated copy of a photograph of himself with wife Marlise and their son Mateo, in Haltom City, Texas.   (AP Photo/The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Ron T. Ennis, File)

(Newser) – A wrenching case in Fort Worth that has pitted a family against a hospital took a big step toward closure this afternoon: A judge ordered doctors to remove a brain-dead pregnant woman from life support by 5pm local time Monday, reports AP. It's not yet clear whether the hospital will appeal. The husband of 33-year-old Marlise Munoz had been pleading with the hospital to remove her respirator for weeks, arguing that the fetus wasn't viable and that his wife had no hope of recovery. But the hospital refused, saying it had to protect the unborn child.

A breakthrough seemed to come before today's hearing, when John Peter Smith Hospital acknowledged for the first time that the fetus wasn't viable, reports CNN. Erick Munoz found his wife unconscious in late November, when she was 14 weeks pregnant. He says both he and his wife, who are paramedics, have previously made clear that they wouldn't want life support in this kind of situation.

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Mar 29, 2014 5:43 AM CDT
I think the best would be to have your own ...living will... And that will end all the drama! I am going to do one for myself, because it is very scary....
Mar 29, 2014 12:57 AM CDT
Just as the mother suffered an anoxic brain injury (which means her brain is dead from lack of oxygen) so the fetus/baby suffered as well because it gets all its oxygen from the mothers blood. If the mother is brain dead, so is the fetus/baby. It didn't some how get some other oxygen source while the mother was down/without oxygen.
Darlene Castro
Mar 29, 2014 12:55 AM CDT
I know if that were me, my husband would do everything in his power to make sure the pregnancy would be protected. Not because it is a human life but because the child would have been conceived out of love and if the child were born a part of me would continue on. There is nothing wrong in waiting a few more weeks to make sure the unborn baby will live or not. I understand the other side of the coin too that the baby could be born with all types of medical problems and need care for the rest of it's life. But ask the majority of parents that love their children and they will tell you that their child, damaged or not has only improved their life. People are not just a thing that can be thrown in the incinerator and destroyed. We are loving, breathing, living beings and deserve the best of medical care, unborn or not. That's what's wrong with the world today, nobody cares about others they only look at the monetary cost. It really is a shame.