Maintained as an unwilling incubator

Darlise Munoz of Dallas was 14 weeks pregnant when she died suddenly of what doctors think was a pulmonary embolism. Her husband found her at home; he performed CPR and called for an ambulance, and she was taken to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth.

Electric shocks and drugs started her heart again and it continued beating with mechanical support, but her brain waves were completely flat. She had gone without breathing for too long to ever recover.

But when the heartbroken family was ready to say goodbye, hospital officials said they could not legally disconnect Marlise from life support. At the time she collapsed, she was 14 weeks’ pregnant.

And because doctors could still detect a fetal heartbeat, state law says Marlise Munoz’s body — against her own and her family’s wishes — must be maintained as an unwilling incubator.

But the fetus had gone without oxygen too. The fetus’s prognosis is not good. Also, both Munozes had discussed this situation and didn’t want the dead-but-breathing-by-machine scenario.

Marlise and Erick Munoz, the parents of a young son, both worked as paramedics for the town of Crowley. Because their jobs brought them into routine contact with sudden death and suffering families, they had conversations about their end-of-life wishes.

Marlise had made it clear she would never want to be kept artificially alive with no hope of recovery.

“Being active paramedics and knowing the facts, they know that people who have this happen to them don’t come out of this very well,” said Crowley Fire Department Lt. Tim Whetstone, a member of the town’s firefighters association that has rallied around the Munoz family.

But that’s all beside the point, because the law.

Hospital authorities have declined all comment, other than to say they have no choice but to follow state law.

According to a 2012 report by the Center for Women Policy Studies, laws governing end-of-life preferences for pregnant women vary by state. Texas is one of 12 that automatically invalidates a woman’s legal prerogative if she “is diagnosed with pregnancy.”

“These are the most restrictive of the pregnancy exclusion statutes, stating that, regardless of the progression of the pregnancy, a woman must remain on life-sustaining treatment until she gives birth,” the report says.

If the bitch didn’t want that the bitch shouldn’t have gotten pregnant, right?

H/t Ewan




  1. Stevarious, Public Health Problem says

    “Texas is one of 12 that automatically invalidates a woman’s legal prerogative if she “is diagnosed with pregnancy.””

    Texas is one of 12 states that stop considering women to be human once they are pregnant.

  2. rnilsson says

    And why the hell are people still working for Fire Departments when they could instead be Hospital Authorities or Legislators? (Is that another form of reptile beside Allitigators and Crookodiles?)

  3. rnilsson says

    Oh, and Stevarious, PHP: I am not entirely convinced of your time scale here.
    We must have cross-posted. QED.

  4. leni says

    End of life prerogative. I “like” how it suddenly becomes a debatable prerogative and not a right.

    I wonder what would happen if we applied that same logic to organ donors? “It’s nice that you had an end of life “prerogative” of not being an organ donor, but we’re going to ignore that because someone needs your kidneys. Or eyes. Or face. Or hands. Or liver.

    Thanks! You’re a hero! Sorry about totally ignoring your will but for reals, you’re probably dead anyway so who cares!”

  5. B Cazz says

    Oh please tell me they’re not going to saddle her widower with the medical bills for keeping her on life support, and the eventual care of a potentially brain-dead child?

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