Sunday 22 October 2017

Husband protests as hospital refuses to switch off pregnant woman's life support

George W Bush implemented the law in 1999 on life support rules in Texas
George W Bush implemented the law in 1999 on life support rules in Texas

Jon Swaine in New York

A brain-dead pregnant woman in Texas is being kept alive against her family's wishes in order to save her unborn child.

Marlise Munoz has been in a vegetative state since collapsing with a suspected pulmonary embolism on her kitchen floor in November last year, when she was 14 weeks pregnant.

Mrs Munoz (33), a paramedic from Haltom City, had previously told her husband and father that she opposed efforts to keep her alive if she were ever declared brain-dead, according to her family.

Yet Texas bans doctors from switching off the life-support machines of pregnant patients before the foetus can be delivered and viably survive -- meaning Mrs Munoz must be kept alive.

Erick Munoz, Mrs Munoz's husband, said he was staggered to be told by doctors at John Peter Smith Hospital that their wishes could not be followed due to state law.

"People should have the right to make these decisions because they know the person better than some legislator," Mr Munoz said.

About half of all 50 American states impose laws of varying stringency that ban medics from cutting off life-support to pregnant women regardless of their will or their family's requests.

Some experts who helped write the law, which was implemented in 1999 by George W Bush, then the state's governor, have said the hospital is wrong in this case.

"This patient is neither terminally nor irreversibly ill," Dr Robert Fine, an expert in clinical ethics, said. "Under Texas law, this patient is legally dead."

A spokesman for the hospital said: "We are following the law of the state of Texas. This is not a difficult decision for us." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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