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Fetus in Texas Life Support Case 'Distinctly Abnormal'

Lawyers say they have medical records to that end
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2014 6:34 AM CST

(Newser) – The 22-week-old fetus of the pregnant Texas woman being kept on life support against her wishes is "distinctly abnormal," lawyers for Marlise Munoz's family say. The attorneys say they have medical records showing as much, and want to clear up any "misconceptions about the condition of the fetus," NBC News reports. Specifically, their statement says:

  • "The lower extremities are deformed to the extent the gender cannot be determined."
  • The fetus is experiencing hydrocephalus, or brain swelling.
  • The fetus may also have a heart problem.
  • There appear to be "further abnormalities" that can't be specifically determined since Munoz's body is "immobile," the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.

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Erick Munoz is suing John Peter Smith Hospital to take his wife off life support since she is brain-dead and did not want to be kept alive in that state. But the hospital says state law requires it to continue life support because she is pregnant. The attorneys say, however, that the fetus' problems are not surprising considering it "is gestating within a dead and deteriorating body." Further, the fetus was "deprived of oxygen for an indeterminate length of time" when Munoz, then 14 weeks pregnant, collapsed in November from a suspected pulmonary embolism. A hearing is scheduled for Friday. (Read more brain dead stories.)

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