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Attorneys: Fetus of pregnant, brain-dead wife is 'distinctly abnormal'

Posted by on Jan. 23, 2014 at 10:02 AM
  • 118 Replies
1 mom liked this

 

Attorneys: Fetus of pregnant, brain-dead wife is 'distinctly abnormal'

By Dana Ford, CNN
January 23, 2014 -- Updated 0054 GMT (0854 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • "Quite sadly, this information is not surprising," say attorneys for the family
  • Marlise Munoz was 14 weeks' pregnant when stricken
  • Hospital has said it must follow state law

(CNN) -- Attorneys representing the family of Marlise Munoz -- a pregnant Texas woman they say is brain dead -- revealed Wednesday that the "fetus is distinctly abnormal."

"Even at this early stage, the lower extremities are deformed to the extent that the gender cannot be determined. The fetus suffers from hydrocephalus. It also appears that there are further abnormalities, including a possible heart problem, that cannot be specifically determined due to the immobile nature of Mrs. Munoz's deceased body.

"Quite sadly, this information is not surprising due to the fact that the fetus, after being deprived of oxygen for an indeterminate length of time, is gestating within a dead and deteriorating body, as a horrified family looks on in absolute anguish, distress and sadness," attorneys Jessica Janicek and Heather King said in a statement.

Munoz's family has said she has been brain-dead since her husband, Erick Munoz, found her unconscious at their home on November 26. At the time, she was 14 weeks' pregnant with the couple's second child.

Munoz's husband asked a court last week to force a hospital to take her off a respirator, ventilator and other machines, saying her wishes shouldn't be disregarded just because she is pregnant.

Erick Munoz filed an emergency motion as well as a complaint against John Peter Smith Hospital, both with the same goal: to have the hospital disconnect the machines so that her family can take her body and give her a proper burial.

"Marlise Munoz is legally dead, and to further conduct surgical procedures on a deceased body is nothing short of outrageous," her husband says in the motion.

Notably, officials at the Fort Worth, Texas, hospital where 33-year-old Marlise Munoz is have not publicly declared her dead, though they have not disputed her husband's assertions either.

A hearing in the case is set for Friday, and both the hospital and the Tarrant County district attorney's office said Wednesday they would not comment before then.

Erick Munoz -- like his wife, a paramedic by training -- said the doctors told him his wife "had lost all activity in her brain stem," and an accompanying chart stated she was "brain dead," according to his lawsuit.

Hospital spokesman J.R. Labbe said last month that doctors were simply trying to obey a Texas law that says "you cannot withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment for a pregnant patient."

Munoz's husband responded by saying that "Marlise cannot possibly be a pregnant patient -- Marlise is dead." Furthermore, he argued that her wishes -- relayed, he said, in conversations but not in writing that she not be on "life-sustaining" measures when she is brain dead -- shouldn't be treated differently from a man or other woman simply because of her pregnancy.

by on Jan. 23, 2014 at 10:02 AM
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Replies (1-10):
AtiFreeFalls
by Silver Member on Jan. 23, 2014 at 10:03 AM
5 moms liked this

 Very sad, but not at all surprising.  What surprises me is that this child is not in worse condition.  This baby might even survive to birth, though I highly doubt it will survive much longer, and if it does, that it will have any quality of life. 

I just feel so sad for this family :(

Roxygurl
by Bronze Member on Jan. 23, 2014 at 10:06 AM
3 moms liked this
So where are the women screaming that the dad just didn't want the kid and that's why he wants her taken off life support and that the baby would probably be fine?

This is absolutely disgusting and I sure hope the law the hospital uses is clarified and I sure hope the judge upholds the wishes of the lady and her family.
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Kate_Momof3
by Silver Member on Jan. 23, 2014 at 10:24 AM
8 moms liked this

Awful. Just awful.

It's disgusting that Texas' Right to Life movement succeeded in getting this passed. This is exactly what Pro-Choicers have been fearing...a woman becoming nothing more than an incubator.

The idea that medical professionals would agree to keep a dead woman "alive" to save a fetus that was doomed the moment she collapsed is abhorrant. It's the stuff of Orwell and Bradbury. 

This poor family's personal tragedy has become public debate. That, in and of itself, is sickening.

GLWerth
by Gina on Jan. 23, 2014 at 10:40 AM

How awful for the family.

Yep, women are incubators, so says the state of Texas.

Sisteract
by Whoopie on Jan. 23, 2014 at 10:53 AM
2 moms liked this

At 14 weeks without a mother being alive, there is no fetus; they are 1 unit.

The state of TX is playing God.


Mommy_of_Riley
by Jes on Jan. 23, 2014 at 10:57 AM
2 moms liked this
Disgusting. This story has been disgusting since the beginning. They are forcing a corpse to be an incubator for a fetus that (in my opinion) is not going to make it.
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stacymomof2
by Ruby Member on Jan. 23, 2014 at 10:59 AM
That is so sad. A tragedy. Please let that family in peace.
motha2daDuchess
by Bruja on Jan. 23, 2014 at 11:02 AM
if there has. been no development, how viable is the
pregnancy. the hospital and state is horrid...
Kate_Momof3
by Silver Member on Jan. 23, 2014 at 11:04 AM
6 moms liked this

That's the glaring disconnect people need to ponder and understand: Using the argument that something is "God's will" while simultaneously using such artificial means to keep this woman's body barely functioning.

I hope that this demonstrates to all of those who support the state's intervention with a woman's medical decisions is hubris and leads to all sorts of bad consequences. Marlise Munoz is one of them. 

This is state-sanctioned emotional torture on a family who lost a beloved mother and wife. 

People need to think about that. Really, really, REALLY hard.

Quoting Sisteract:

At 14 weeks without a mother being alive, there is no fetus; they are 1 unit.

The state of TX is playing God.



Sisteract
by Whoopie on Jan. 23, 2014 at 11:08 AM
3 moms liked this

The kind of people who agree with this plan of care are the kind of people who seem to be unable "to get" anything until it happens to them { and then, of course, it would be someone infringing on their rights} Clearly, empathy does not extend to all humans.

ITA with your response.

Quoting Kate_Momof3:

That's the glaring disconnect people need to ponder and understand: Using the argument that something is "God's will" while simultaneously using such artificial means to keep this woman's body barely functioning.

I hope that this demonstrates to all of those who support the state's intervention with a woman's medical decisions is hubris and leads to all sorts of bad consequences. Marlise Munoz is one of them. 

This is state-sanctioned emotional torture on a family who lost a beloved mother and wife. 

People need to think about that. Really, really, REALLY hard.

Quoting Sisteract:

At 14 weeks without a mother being alive, there is no fetus; they are 1 unit.

The state of TX is playing God.




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