Yesterday, the family of Marlise Munoz filed an emergency motion against the Texas hospital asking them to take her off life support so they can bury her body. Thirty-three-year-old Marlise, who apparently suffered a pulmonary embolism in November, did not want to be kept alive on machines. Her wishes, and those of her husband and parents, are not being respected, though. The Forth Worth hospital where she is being kept believes it is following a state law by keeping her body functioning in order to keep her now 22-week-old fetus alive.
Marlise was discovered unconscious on the kitcehn floor in the middle of the night by her husband, Erick Munoz. When they arrived at the hospital, Erick was told his wife was brain dead. But because Marlise was carrying the couple’s second child, John Peter Smith Hospital said it is complying with a law in Texas that forbids them from withholding “life-sustaining treatment” for a pregnant patient. (The hospital has not yet publicly declared Marlise dead, although they are not defining her as alive, either.)
Her fetus was likely deprived of oxygen for a period of time between the pulmonary embolism and the time it took Marlise to be hooked up to life support in the hospital. Attorneys for say her fetus is “distinctly abnormal,” “deformed to the extent that the gender cannot be determined” and has a “possible heart problem.”
Marlise’s family and friends call what the hospital is doing cruel — to both them and Marlise’s own wishes. Legal experts have agreed that a body being kept alive by machines does not constitute a “patient” and Erick Munoz’s own emergency motion calls his wife “legally dead.” He has said Marlise’s body is “nothing more than an empty shell” and smells of death.
The Munoz family goes to court this afternoon. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.
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[Image of hospital via Shutterstock]