The Texas woman, who has been declared brain dead and is being kept alive because she is pregnant, despite her family’s objections, is carrying a fetus that has signs of having developed in a distinctly abnormal way, the woman’s husband’s attorneys stated on Wednesday. Marlise Munoz is hooked up to life support machines in a Fort Worth, Texas hospital, while her spouse and the hospital continue to be locked up in a court battle about whether to keep her body on the life support.
The case has caused many questions to be raised about care at the end of a person’s life and whether a woman who is pregnant is considered to be both medically and legally brain dead and should their bodies be kept on life support due to the sake of a fetus. The case has grabbed the attention of groups on both sides of the abortion debate.
Erick Munoz has stated numerous times that Marlise, who was also a paramedic like him, was very clear about her end of life wishes. She let him know that she ever happened to fall into this type of condition; she wanted any life support terminated. However, the hospital she is in has stated that it is duty bound by the state laws of Texas which forbid the withdrawal of treatment from a brain dead pregnant patient. However several experts in this field have stated that the hospital is abusing the law.
Heather King and Jessica Hall Janicek, Munoz’s lawyers, released a statement on Wednesday which told of the medical condition of the fetus, now thought to be around the 22 week gestation mark. Janicek and King stated that their findings were from medical records they had gotten from the hospital. They said that the medical records that they had been given showed that the fetus was distinctly abnormal. Even at such an early stage of development, the bottom extremities are said to be so deformed that the gender cannot even be figured out. There is also fluid building up inside the fetus’ skull and there is also a major possibility of a heart problem.
Tragically, such information as this is not at all surprising due to the fact that the fetus, after having been deprived of oxygen for an unknown amount of time, has to try and gestate within a dead body which is beginning to now deteriorate. Even worse, her horrified family has to watch this terrible scene while in distress and total anguish, the attorneys declared.
Spokespeople for the Texas hospital refused to give any sort of comment to the public. There has been a hearing scheduled for Friday. Munoz’s lawsuit is asking the court to require the hospital to pull all life support from Munoz and let her body be given back to her family. Mr. Munoz had said prior that he was not at all confident about the health of the fetus.
A 2010 article ran in the journal BMC Medicine and it stated that there were about 30 cases of brain dead pregnant women on record over a 30 year span. Nearly 20 of the reported results ended up with children being born and from those there were 12 live births. However there was data on only six of the 12 out to the two year mark. It stated that the six had developed normally, according to the journal.
Sadly, it does not appear that this fetus got that lucky, since it is showing the signs of developing abnormal, the woman’s husband’s attorneys stated on Wednesday.
By Kimberly Ruble
Seattle Pi News