Judge orders hospital to remove brain-dead Texas woman from life support

The court ruled that the hospital must comply with the family's wishes and remove Marlise Munoz from life support

Published January 24, 2014 10:57PM (EST)

Erick and Marlise Munoz
Erick and Marlise Munoz

A judge on Friday ordered a Texas hospital to remove a brain-dead woman from life support.

Marlise Munoz collapsed in her home while 14-weeks pregnant and was soon declared brain-dead, but hospital officials refused to comply with the wishes of Munoz's husband and family to remove her from life support, citing a Texas law prohibiting the withdrawal of "life sustaining" treatment from a pregnant patient.

As the Associated Press reports, attorneys for Erick Munoz argued in court that Munoz is legally and medically deceased, and so the hospital had incorrectly and inhumanely applied the law.

The judge called the Munoz case "tragic and very difficult,” but agreed that the law in question did not apply to Munoz because she is dead.

A statement from attorneys for the Munoz family and a joint affidavit filed before the Friday hearing also stated decisively that, "At the time of this hearing, the fetus gestating inside Mrs. Munoz is not viable."

The hospital has until Monday to comply with the order and has yet to issue a statement in response to the ruling.



By Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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