The disturbing story of a brain-dead pregnant woman in Texas ended mercifully last week after a judge ordered her removed from life support despite a state law requiring the hospital to keep her alive. But there’s one big question remaining: Who has to pay for the nine weeks of hospital care that the family did not want?
On Sunday, Marlise Machado Muñoz — the brain-dead women who was forced to remain on life support against her family’s will because she was pregnant — was disconnected from a respirator after a months-long battle with the hospital that was caring for her. John Peter Smith Hospital finally agreed to relinquish her body to her family after a judge ordered it. Now, her husband Erick is finally beginning the process of saying goodbye to Muñoz and her unborn child, who he named Nicole.
But in the aftermath of the family’s personal tragedy, there are still some unanswered questions. It’s not guaranteed that Texas will actually change the arcane state law that allows hospitals to override women’s end-of-life wishes if they are pregnant. And it’s unclear who exactly will be responsible for paying the medical bills that resulted from Muñoz’s hospital stay, which stretched on for about nine weeks.
In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Erick Muñoz acknowledged that he has been receiving medical bills at his home — although he’s not sure exactly what he will be expected to pay.
“They have not come to me and said how that’s going to work,” he told CNN. “But I believe I’ve heard several media outlets…saying that they’ve asked about that. They have asked that question. They said they would continue normal billing.”
9 weeks in ICU almost certainly runs well over a million dollars and the family damn well shouldn’t have to pay it. I say send the bill to Rick Perry.