Author Topic: Brain-dead, pregnant Texas woman off life support after judge’s order  (Read 933 times)

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 A brain-dead, pregnant Texas woman’s body was removed from life support Sunday, as the hospital keeping her on machines against her family’s wishes acceded to a judge’s ruling that it was misapplying state law.

Marlise Munoz’s body will soon be buried by her husband and parents, after John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth announced it would not fight Judge R.H. Wallace Jr.’s order on Friday to pronounce her dead and return her body to her family. The 23-week-old fetus she was carrying will not be born.

The hospital’s decision Sunday brings an apparent end to a case that became a touchstone for national debates about the beginning and end of life, and whether a pregnant woman who is considered legally and medically dead should be kept on life support for the sake of a fetus.

Munoz’s husband, Erick Munoz, sued the hospital because it would not remove life support as he said his wife would have wanted in such a situation. Erick and Marlise Munoz worked as paramedics and were familiar with end-of-life issues, and Erick said his wife had told him she would not want to be kept alive under such circumstances.

But the hospital refused his request, citing Texas law that says life-sustaining treatment cannot be withdrawn from a pregnant patient, regardless of her end-of-life wishes.

Wallace sided Friday with Erick Munoz, saying in his order: “Mrs. Munoz is dead.”

Wallace had given the hospital until 5 p.m. (2300 GMT) Monday to comply with his order, but the hospital announced Sunday morning that it would forego any appeal.

“From the onset, the hospital has said that its role was not to make nor contest law but to follow it,” according to a statement released by hospital spokeswoman J.R. Labbe. “On Friday, a state district judge ordered the removal of life-sustaining treatment from Marlise Munoz. The hospital will follow the court order.”

Shortly afterward, Erick Munoz’s attorneys announced that she had been disconnected from life support at approximately 11:30 a.m.

“May Marlise Munoz finally rest in peace, and her family find the strength to complete what has been an unbearably long and arduous journey,” they said in a statement.

Erick Munoz’s attorneys told Wallace on Friday that doctors had performed medical care on her body over his protests.

Erick Munoz described visiting his wife in the hospital, saying her eyes were now glassy and the smell of her perfume had given way to a smell he knew to be of a dead body. His attorneys told Wallace on Friday that doctors had performed medical care on her body over his protests.

“There is an infant, and a dead person serving as a dysfunctional incubator,” attorney Heather King said.

Marlise Munoz’s parents, Ernest and Lynne Machado, agreed with Erick Munoz and sat next to him at Friday’s hearing.

But Larry Thompson, a state’s attorney arguing on behalf of the hospital Friday, said the hospital was trying to protect the rights of the fetus as it believed Texas law instructed it to do. The hospital’s attorneys cited a section 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.”

“There is a life involved, and the life is the unborn child,” Thompson told the judge.

Legal experts said the hospital was misreading the Texas Advance Directives Act and that the law doesn’t have an absolute command to keep someone like Munoz on life support.

“This patient is neither terminally nor irreversibly ill,” said Dr. Robert Fine, clinical director of the office of clinical ethics and palliative care for Baylor Health Care System, in an interview earlier this month. “Under Texas law, this patient is legally dead.”

Erick and Marlise Munoz already had one son, and Erick Munoz said he had once looked forward to the birth of their second child. But both the hospital and his attorneys agreed the fetus inside Marlise Munoz could not be delivered this early, and little is known about the fate of children born to mothers who have suffered brain death.

Munoz’s attorneys said the fetus had significant abnormalities, including a deformation of the lower body that made it impossible to determine a gender.

Whether the Munoz case leads Texas to change the law remains unclear. In recent years, the Legislature has enacted several new anti-abortion restrictions, including setting the legal guideline for when a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks — a milestone Marlise Munoz’s fetus had passed about three weeks ago.

Texas is one of 12 U.S. states that automatically invalidate a pregnant woman’s advance health care directive.

The case has been noted by Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry and the two leading candidates running to replace him, but none of them has called for any new laws yet or action as a result of the case.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/01/27/world/brain-dead-pregnant-texas-woman-off-life-support-after-judges-order/#.UuY5zdrTmUk

Offline EC

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Re: Brain-dead, pregnant Texas woman off life support after judge’s order
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2014, 10:21:29 AM »
May they rest in peace, and her family now find peace.

It's a bit of a relief. I can understand keeping her on life support for a week or so - if the baby was just too young to have a chance of survival - but trying to keep a dead body going for 13 weeks is foolish. With the best will in the world, autolysis is going to set in. Those enzymes are going to affect the baby too.
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Offline AbaraXas

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Re: Brain-dead, pregnant Texas woman off life support after judge’s order
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2014, 10:28:37 AM »
There but for the grace of God go I.

I pray these are the type of decisions I never have to make. I won't take a stand either way on this because I simply don't know. This, like the Schiavo case has a lot of people raining down judgement on various sides. I am glad God looks at the heart and knows the intention. If a mistake by either side was made, but done out of love and lack of knowledge, I believe God look more at the heart than expecting any of us to have the omnipresence to always know all factors and make the perfect decision every time. 
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Offline Charlespg

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Re: Brain-dead, pregnant Texas woman off life support after judge’s order
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2014, 10:40:22 AM »
brain dead is dead ,the baby died when she did **nononono*
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Offline EC

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Re: Brain-dead, pregnant Texas woman off life support after judge’s order
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2014, 10:50:40 AM »
There but for the grace of God go I.

I pray these are the type of decisions I never have to make. I won't take a stand either way on this because I simply don't know. This, like the Schiavo case has a lot of people raining down judgement on various sides. I am glad God looks at the heart and knows the intention. If a mistake by either side was made, but done out of love and lack of knowledge, I believe God look more at the heart than expecting any of us to have the omnipresence to always know all factors and make the perfect decision every time.

Make them in advance. Have the conversation now.

Wife and I are both DNR, but permit life support for one week for specific organ donation purposes (I won't donate my corneas, have a huge and irrational horror of the thought of my eyes being gone). I have said before, my Dad made me promise to physically unplug him it it came to that, and deal with any medical staff who try to hook him back up. Mom runs the gambling route - if there is a better than a 1 in 100 chance of recovery, leave her plugged in.
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Offline happyg

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Re: Brain-dead, pregnant Texas woman off life support after judge’s order
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2014, 10:59:59 AM »
There but for the grace of God go I.

I pray these are the type of decisions I never have to make. I won't take a stand either way on this because I simply don't know. This, like the Schiavo case has a lot of people raining down judgement on various sides. I am glad God looks at the heart and knows the intention. If a mistake by either side was made, but done out of love and lack of knowledge, I believe God look more at the heart than expecting any of us to have the omnipresence to always know all factors and make the perfect decision every time.

I feel the same way. We aren't living what this family is. Twenty years ago, my niece was killed in a car accident. They kept her on life support until they could get all the people who needed her organs ready. She wasn't pregnant, but knowing she was dead, yet alive, waiting to be 'unplugged' was hell on earth to go through. 1 1/2 days was like an eternity. I can't even imagine how this family feels.

Offline EC

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Re: Brain-dead, pregnant Texas woman off life support after judge’s order
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2014, 11:06:59 AM »
I feel the same way. We aren't living what this family is. Twenty years ago, my niece was killed in a car accident. They kept her on life support until they could get all the people who needed her organs ready. She wasn't pregnant, but knowing she was dead, yet alive, waiting to be 'unplugged' was hell on earth to go through. 1 1/2 days was like an eternity. I can't even imagine how this family feels.

No, my friend. She was long gone. It was only her body still alive.

Henrietta Lacks, a smallish black woman, died back in 1951. There are several tons of her, still viable and growing, scattered around the planet to this day. No one would argue she is still alive.
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Offline flowers

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Re: Brain-dead, pregnant Texas woman off life support after judge’s order
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2014, 02:00:02 PM »
It is a horrible ordeal. My Mom was on life support, not brain dead and she had always told me to unplug her. They did stop the machine. She woke up a short time afterwards.


Offline EC

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Re: Brain-dead, pregnant Texas woman off life support after judge’s order
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2014, 02:14:18 PM »
It is a horrible ordeal. My Mom was on life support, not brain dead and she had always told me to unplug her. They did stop the machine. She woke up a short time afterwards.

May I be mildly poetic?

When the soul leaves the body, you can tell. There is something badly missing. You can see it, feel it and even smell it. Someone in a deep coma does not feel the same as a corpse.

But people on the borderline - that is different. I always envisage it as someone curled up in a tiny corner of their own mind, thinking "Let someone else drive for a while. Just leave me alone." Switch them off and they have the choice. Go to their reward, or sigh deeply and get back to the cockpit and fly this bunch of meat.
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Offline flowers

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Re: Brain-dead, pregnant Texas woman off life support after judge’s order
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2014, 02:49:19 PM »
May I be mildly poetic?

When the soul leaves the body, you can tell. There is something badly missing. You can see it, feel it and even smell it. Someone in a deep coma does not feel the same as a corpse.

But people on the borderline - that is different. I always envisage it as someone curled up in a tiny corner of their own mind, thinking "Let someone else drive for a while. Just leave me alone." Switch them off and they have the choice. Go to their reward, or sigh deeply and get back to the cockpit and fly this bunch of meat.

You know you are right. Something is badly missing now that I think about it. My Uncle's bodies and both Mom and Dad all were different.


Offline Rapunzel

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Re: Brain-dead, pregnant Texas woman off life support after judge’s order
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2014, 04:23:25 PM »
You can actually see when the soul leaves the body.
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Offline EC

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Re: Brain-dead, pregnant Texas woman off life support after judge’s order
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2014, 04:48:07 PM »
You can actually see when the soul leaves the body.


 **nononono* <----- using because we don't have a sad face.

Yep. Feel it sometimes, too.
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Offline flowers

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Re: Brain-dead, pregnant Texas woman off life support after judge’s order
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2014, 05:07:26 PM »
What did you see when that happens???


Offline Rapunzel

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Re: Brain-dead, pregnant Texas woman off life support after judge’s order
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2014, 05:14:09 PM »
What did you see when that happens???

It is a little difficult to explain until you've seen it.  But almost immediately the face totally changes and takes on a look like a wax caricature of the formerly living body... It is pretty much instantaneous with the final respiration.
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Offline EC

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Re: Brain-dead, pregnant Texas woman off life support after judge’s order
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2014, 05:19:53 PM »
What did you see when that happens???

Yep - what Rap said. You are looking at some living, vibrant person one second, and a shop window dummy the next.

I'd add one thing - they shrink. It is very noticeable in people you know. You'd expect it to be the other way around - all the muscles relax, after all - but it is really noticeable if you are watching at that moment.
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Offline flowers

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Re: Brain-dead, pregnant Texas woman off life support after judge’s order
« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2014, 05:22:41 PM »
Thanks for info.


Offline flowers

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Re: Brain-dead, pregnant Texas woman off life support after judge’s order
« Reply #16 on: January 27, 2014, 05:24:42 PM »
Yep - what Rap said. You are looking at some living, vibrant person one second, and a shop window dummy the next.

I'd add one thing - they shrink. It is very noticeable in people you know. You'd expect it to be the other way around - all the muscles relax, after all - but it is really noticeable if you are watching at that moment.
This is for both you and Rap. do you believe in spirits/ghosts?


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Re: Brain-dead, pregnant Texas woman off life support after judge’s order
« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2014, 05:40:49 PM »
This is for both you and Rap. do you believe in spirits/ghosts?

I believe in souls. There is a fundamental difference between the living and the dead that can't be explained by a simple cessation of brain function.

Ghosts, spirits, haunts, demons or angels though? I don't know.

Seen a few things. Had a guy tell me to "drop" once clear as day when he'd already been dead a week at the time. Could just have been my mind, right? Seen my cousin asleep (we were sharing a bedroom at the time) and watched as someone sat on the edge of his bed - his mother had died the previous day and he told us the following morning he dreamed she had visited him.

Mostly I stuff these into the mental file marked "weird stuff" and try not to think to much about it.
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Offline happyg

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Re: Brain-dead, pregnant Texas woman off life support after judge’s order
« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2014, 05:44:48 PM »
What did you see when that happens???

My sister took care of her husband for a long time because of throat cancer, among other illnesses. As he neared death, he lingered for several weeks. My parents and other members were standing around his bed, and Nancy prayed that God would give her a sign. As soon as he passed, she said she saw his soul leave his body, and said, "He's gone". And, he was. She told me to never talk about this because people would think she is nuts. Nance is a no nonsense person, and I believed her.

Offline flowers

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Re: Brain-dead, pregnant Texas woman off life support after judge’s order
« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2014, 05:50:28 PM »
I believe in souls. There is a fundamental difference between the living and the dead that can't be explained by a simple cessation of brain function.

Ghosts, spirits, haunts, demons or angels though? I don't know.

Seen a few things. Had a guy tell me to "drop" once clear as day when he'd already been dead a week at the time. Could just have been my mind, right? Seen my cousin asleep (we were sharing a bedroom at the time) and watched as someone sat on the edge of his bed - his mother had died the previous day and he told us the following morning he dreamed she had visited him.

Mostly I stuff these into the mental file marked "weird stuff" and try not to think to much about it.

Hubby used to work at a old buiding from the civil war days. He would tell me about workers who saw soldiers walk through the building. I was able to visit that place and asked some who still worked there. They said they still saw weird things. I was at a friends house some years ago. We were watching TV  and all of a sudden a blond woman walked through the kitchen. I said do you see that blond woman? They said wearing blue shorts I said with tank top? We both described what she was wearing. It was wild.


Offline Rapunzel

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Re: Brain-dead, pregnant Texas woman off life support after judge’s order
« Reply #20 on: January 27, 2014, 05:51:59 PM »
This is for both you and Rap. do you believe in spirits/ghosts?

Oh yes.  I actually have a photograph I took in Jamaica in 1978 when we went on a horseback ride on the Rosehall Plantation - known to be full of spirits - though I didn't know at the time... anyway I was taking pics on the ride and when we had the film developed here is this picture in the middle of a roll of film - so not damaged as you used to get from the first pic or two on a roll - of the old slave quarters and there in the picture is an old black man, old black woman and a little girl (all spirits) the plants in front of the building are all strange while the same plants away from the building are totally normal - I scanned the pic once to send to someone and when I viewed it full screen there is an angel in the picture, too... never noticed it before but saw it clear as day - sitting off to the side of the three spirits.. 

A friend went there a few years later on a business trip to scout for a location for a get-away for our international division and she and her boss got a full tour of the main building by a woman dressed in white.. upstairs, downstairs, etc.. said they would be back they had other places to view... went back the next day and a man answered the door - they said they had toured yesterday and were back to sign contracts. The man said who gave you the tour, I'm the only one who gives tours... they described the woman and were told - oh..... you were given the tour by the resident ghost.    Long story but there is a book called the White Witch of Rosehall that tells about the woman who is the resident ghost - Ghost Hunters did a story on Bio a few months ago -- oh and my friend thought this was sort of cool, her boss was totally freaked out.

And. I took a picture from the top of the houseboat after we scattered George's ashes... and I have a picture of his spirit on one of the pictures.. just caught it at the right time... but I knew he was there.. he has been around here a lot ever since he died - even scared me once knocking on the window and he opens his closet door to let me know he is here - always the same distance - I'll go in the room and it's closed and then walk back in and it's been opened...  I just tell him hello and thank him for being here.
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Offline Lipstick on a Hillary

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Re: Brain-dead, pregnant Texas woman off life support after judge’s order
« Reply #21 on: January 27, 2014, 06:06:52 PM »
What did you see when that happens???

My sister in law saw my brother's soul leave his.  He told her he was having a heart attack, so she called 911.  For some reason, he then walked out to their garage, my sis-in-law following closely behind him.  She told me "he was dead before he hit the floor" describing his soul as leaving his body just before he fell.  She described his falling as very gentle, like invisible angels were breaking the fall of his body.

An elderly woman from my (Presbyterian) church relayed to me that she had seen her husband's soul leave his body when he passed more than 30 years ago.  She told me that in kind of a hush-hush manner, like she wasn't supposed to speak of such things.  ^-^

Offline Lipstick on a Hillary

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Re: Brain-dead, pregnant Texas woman off life support after judge’s order
« Reply #22 on: January 27, 2014, 06:17:16 PM »
Quote
... he has been around here a lot ever since he died - even scared me once knocking on the window and he opens his closet door to let me know he is here - always the same distance - I'll go in the room and it's closed and then walk back in and it's been opened...  I just tell him hello and thank him for being here.

My departed husband's way of saying "hi" is lights, as Rappy knows as we exchange our stories all the time.   I have a stairway landing that is very dark and the ceiling is high.  I put a floor arrangement there, and this past fall I wove some little micro lights thru the squiggly sticks of the arrangement--battery operated with a little manual switch.  3 times now, I have found those little lights turned on when I came home from somewhere.   I figure Bill didn't want me to come home to a dark house.  :laugh:

Offline flowers

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Re: Brain-dead, pregnant Texas woman off life support after judge’s order
« Reply #23 on: January 27, 2014, 06:30:19 PM »
I believe in them as well. Thanks for sharing those both of you.


Offline Lipstick on a Hillary

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Re: Brain-dead, pregnant Texas woman off life support after judge’s order
« Reply #24 on: January 27, 2014, 06:45:09 PM »
May I be mildly poetic?

When the soul leaves the body, you can tell. There is something badly missing. You can see it, feel it and even smell it. Someone in a deep coma does not feel the same as a corpse.


On a different note, people in a coma look nothing like people who are sleeping, either.   Except for breathing in and out, people in coma appear almost devoid of life. 


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