Saturday 1 November 2014

Clinic sued for keeping pregnant woman alive

Normaan Merchant, Dallas

Published 15/01/2014 | 02:30

Life Support
Life Support

The husband of a pregnant, brain-dead US woman has sued the hospital keeping her on life support, saying doctors are doing so against her and her family's wishes.

The lawsuit filed in Texas district court asks a judge to order John Peter Smith Hospital to remove life support for Marlise Munoz, who fell unconscious in November.

But the hospital says it can't follow the directive due to a state law that prohibits life-saving treatment from being denied to pregnant patients. Experts familiar with the law say the hospital is incorrectly applying the statute.

Erick Munoz has said a doctor told him his wife was considered brain-dead. Mr Munoz says he and his wife are both paramedics and are familiar with end-of-life issues. He says his wife had made her wishes clear to him that she would not want life support in this kind of situation. Marlise Munoz's parents agree.

Mr Munoz found his wife unconscious in the early morning on November 26. The family says it doesn't know the exact cause of her condition, though a pulmonary embolism is a possibility. Marlise Munoz was 14 weeks' pregnant at the time.

The health of the foetus is unknown. Ms Munoz is believed to have been without oxygen for some time before her husband found her.

Hospital spokeswoman JR Labbe has said the hospital stands by its decision: "This is not a difficult decision for us. We are following the law."

Irish Independent

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