In November Marlise Munoz was found by her husband Erick lying unconscious on the kitchen floor, the victim of a blood clot in her lungs. It was unclear how long Ms. Munoz was deprived of oxygen and by the time she arrived at John Peter Smith Hospital she was declared brain dead. Legally speaking after two days of zero brain activity, a person can be declared legally dead. The only thing keeping Ms. Munoz alive was the life support system breathing for her. With no hope of recovery, her husband along with his wife's parents decided to take his wife off life support.
There was a problem...
Ms. Munoz was 14 weeks pregnant at the time of her accident. The hospital claimed that they could not legally take her off life support because doing so would obviously end the child's life. The accident which deprived Ms. Munoz of oxygen also deprived her child as well and it was likely that the child would suffer from moderate to severe disabilities if brought to term. The hospital confirmed that the child already had hydrocephalus, an issue with its heart, and a deformity of the lower extremities.
Ms. Munoz's family went to court to fight the hospital's refusal to remove her from life support. On Friday, a district court judge ruled that the hospital could not keep Ms. Munoz alive without the consent of her family. At 11:30am Sunday morning, Ms. Munoz was removed from life support.
This case raises legal as well as moral arguments for and against the court's ruling, the hospital's decision, and the family's wishes.
What are your thoughts?