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Fri Jan 3, 2014, 10:03 PM

Texas Man Fights to Take Pregnant Brain-Dead Wife Off Life Support

Marlise Munoz lies in a North Texas hospital, 19 weeks pregnant but with no chance of seeing her child born.

Her husband, Erick Munoz, says a doctor told him she's brain dead, but John Peter Smith Hospital is refusing to allow him to take her off of life support. The hospital says Texas law prohibits it from following a family directive when a pregnancy is involved, although three experts say the hospital is misreading the law in question.

The case is raising questions about end-of-life care and stands in stark contrast to that of a 13-year-old girl in California whose family is trying to keep her on life support after she was declared brain dead. In that case, the hospital wants to remove the ventilator keeping her heart pumping, saying the girl is legally dead.

In the Texas case, Munoz said he and his wife both worked as paramedics and have seen life and death up close.


http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/national-international/Pregnant-Brain-Dead-Texas-Woman-Kept-Alive-238644521.html

11 replies, 746 views

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Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
Reply Texas Man Fights to Take Pregnant Brain-Dead Wife Off Life Support (Original post)
RandySF Jan 2014 OP
NYC_SKP Jan 2014 #1
LisaL Jan 2014 #2
NYC_SKP Jan 2014 #3
LisaL Jan 2014 #4
nomorenomore08 Jan 2014 #5
w8liftinglady Jan 2014 #6
LisaL Jan 2014 #7
w8liftinglady Jan 2014 #9
LisaL Jan 2014 #11
FloriTexan Jan 2014 #10
freshwest Jan 2014 #8

Response to RandySF (Original post)

Fri Jan 3, 2014, 10:10 PM

1. I saw this earlier. Is the fetus viable? It's not clear in the article.

Erick Munoz described his personal conflict as the father of a 14-month-old boy who wanted another child, but as a medical professional who didn't know if the fetus could survive or how much it had suffered.

Marlise Munoz's case appears to be rare. A 2010 article in the journal BMC Medicine found 30 cases of brain-dead pregnant women over about 30 years. Of 19 reported results, the journal found 12 in which a viable child was born and had post-birth data for two years on only six of them -- all of whom developed normally, according to the journal.

John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth is pointing to a provision of the Texas Advance Directives Act that reads: "A person may not withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment under this subchapter from a pregnant patient."

Hospital spokeswoman J.R. Labbe said she isn't permitted to confirm that Marlise Munoz had been declared brain-dead, only that she was pregnant and hospitalized in serious condition.


Tough situation. If the fetus is viable but the mother is totally incapable of participating in the decision, I think this becomes a tough call.

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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #1)

Fri Jan 3, 2014, 10:11 PM

2. They don't know yet if the fetus is viable.

It's alive. It has a hearbeat. But it's too early to know if it's o'key. They plan to do more tests on it in a few weeks.

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Response to LisaL (Reply #2)

Fri Jan 3, 2014, 10:13 PM

3. Thanks.

What a sad situation.

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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #3)

Fri Jan 3, 2014, 10:21 PM

4. It is a very sad situation.

But it is actually possible that the fetus is o'key. Some brain dead women were able to produce viable children that were normally developed.

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Response to RandySF (Original post)

Fri Jan 3, 2014, 10:29 PM

5. Then again, the doctors better be careful lest some "good Christian" firebomb their office

or something. Funny how the people who think of themselves as defending human life have no problem taking human life - and not just clinics and doctor's offices either, but liberal churches, gay bars, you name it...

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Response to RandySF (Original post)

Fri Jan 3, 2014, 10:44 PM

6. This is just sad. I've seen it too many times as an ICU nurse

Here's how almost every second trimester critically-ill pregnancy will end...

Maternal body will become septic- you just don't have tubes dwelling in you without infections.
Mother's blood pressure will drop dangerously low.
Medications will be given to raise the blood pressure...which causes arteries to constrict.
Blood flow will be cut off to the fetus.
As the mother's status declines, she will spontaneously abort the baby.
The family will endure the baby's death,and then the mother's.

We see this every flu season... the flu hits pregnant women extremely hard....ESPECIALLY in their second trimester.There were a couple of nurses who were devoted to preparing the stillborn for the family. It was cathartic for the nurses.

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Response to w8liftinglady (Reply #6)

Fri Jan 3, 2014, 11:04 PM

7. From what has been reported, out of 30 brain dead pregnant women, 12 were able to produce

viable infants that were developing normally.

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Response to LisaL (Reply #7)

Fri Jan 3, 2014, 11:11 PM

9. depends on the age of the fetus when the mother died.

This fetus is 14 weeks old. he/she will have to last 12 weeks before a C-section would be done. 12 weeks is a lifetime in a county hospital ICU.

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Response to w8liftinglady (Reply #9)

Fri Jan 3, 2014, 11:13 PM

11. It was 14 weeks when mother died. It's at 19 weeks now.

If mother lasts another five weeks it will have 40-70 % chance of survival. If she lasts seven weeks chance of survival goes to 80-90 %.
Presumably assuming it hasn't suffered permanent damage when mother was deprived of oxygen.
But soon they can carry out tests to see if it is developing normally.

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Response to LisaL (Reply #7)

Fri Jan 3, 2014, 11:12 PM

10. How old were the fetuses? n/t

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Response to RandySF (Original post)

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