Family sues to take pregnant brain-dead woman off life-support - FOX 35 News Orlando

Family sues to take pregnant brain-dead woman off life-support

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The family of a pregnant brain-dead woman on life support filed a lawsuit Tuesday against a Ft. Worth hospital to remove her from life support.

Marlise Munoz was found unconscious in late November, likely due to a blood clot in her lung, and was hospitalized. Munoz was 14 weeks pregnant at the time of the incident.

Her husband, Erick Munoz, said a doctor told him that his wife is brain dead. John Peter Smith Hospital has refused to take Marlise off life support, citing a Texas law that prevents it from following a family's wishes when a pregnancy is involved.

But Erick Munoz and Marlise's parents want the woman taken off life support. In a recent interview with FOX, her mother said that Marlise would not have wanted to be kept alive in a situation like this and told her parents that several times.

The lawsuit states that Erick and Marlise, who both worked as paramedics during their marriage, "expressed clearly" to each other and family their desire "not to be resuscitated should either of them become brain dead."

The suit said the law, as interpreted by the hospital, "makes no sense" and "amounts to nothing more than the cruel and obscene mutilation of a deceased body against the expressed will of the deceased and her family."

The Ft. Worth hospital points to a part 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."

The lawsuit asks the court to rule that the Texas law in question does not apply to patients that have been diagnosed as brain dead and for Marlise to be removed from life support.

The Munoz case has garnered worldwide attention and multiple experts have told media outlets the hospital is misinterpreting the Texas law.

Two experts who helped draft the law told the Associated Press earlier this month that a brain-dead patient isn't covered by the Texas law.

The Tarrant County District Attorney's Office said Tuesday it will represent JPS Hospital against Munoz and no hearing has been set.

"Because litigation is pending, we will have no further comment on this suit at this time," the Tarrant DA's office said in a statement.

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