A Texas woman, Marlise Munoz, age 33, who is pregnant, is unable to be taken off life support due to Texas state law; even though it is known that she would want to be.
She is around 18 weeks along in her pregnancy and Texas law forbids withholding or removing any kind of life-nourishing treatment from a patient who is pregnant, no matter what her wishes might be. Marlise’s husband Erick wants to see his wife’s last wish fulfilled this holiday season.
Mrs. Munoz is listed as being in serious condition in the ICU unit in a hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, stated hospital officials. She is comatose and has been placed on a ventilator, her husband explained, but she would not want her life continued by artificial means.
Mr. Munoz stated that the two of them had discussed such topics because they both were paramedics. He stated how they each had seen events out where they worked on an ambulance service and realized they neither one wanted to ever be put on any kind of life support system.
Patients are able to specify what they prefer their future desires to be about medical treatment, in case they become unable to communicate what those wishes are through official forms known as advance directives. However in the state of Texas, such forms have a provision which states that females understand under Texas law such a directive does not have legal effect if the woman has been diagnosed as being a pregnant female.
Erick Munoz believes his wife might have had a pulmonary embolism. This is another name for a blood clot that has moved to a person’s lungs from somewhere else in the body. It is unknown how long the fetus went without any oxygen or any nutrients.
The hospital refused to give out any specific details over Marlise Munoz’s condition, but they did state that the hospital would follow the Texas law in regards to a patient’s care during pregnancy.
A statement was released by a hospital spokesperson that stated the hospital would continue to follow any laws as they are appropriate to an individual’s health care in the state of Texas. And the state law here states it is illegal to withdraw or withhold any life sustaining treatment for a pregnant patient. Things are just that clear.
The Munoz couple already has an infant son named Mateo who is just over one year of age.
Mr. Munoz discovered his wife unconscious on Nov. 26, about 2 a.m. He did CPR compressions on her and also called 911 for help.
Since that time, his pregnant wife has been on life support. Tests performed on the baby show a regular heartbeat. However, it takes up to 24 weeks before doctors will know more about when the fetus could be delivered by C-section. Physicians have also debated on possibly letting the baby go to full term.
Mr. Munoz stated that his wife had stated many times she did not want to ever be kept alive by machines. He stated he had gotten to the point where he wished her body “would stop”.
He wears her blue and pink bracelets on one of his wrists and her wedding ring is wrapped around his pinkie.
It is obvious he does not want his wife to have to go through the pregnancy, even though she is legally unable to be removed from life support.
By Kimberly Ruble