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

(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.

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)
Erick Munoz arrives for today's court hearing in Fort Worth, Texas.   (AP Photo/Star-Telegram, Ron T. Ennis)
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