- Marlise Munoz has been brain dead since November
- A hospital had kept her body on a ventilator to preserve the fetus she carried
- A judge ordered that to stop by Monday, and the hospital says it will comply
(None) — [Breaking news update, 1:50 p.m. ET]
The brain-dead and pregnant Texas woman at the center of a wrenching court battle has been removed from ventilators, lawyers for her family said Sunday.
[Original story published at 1:41 p.m. ET]
(CNN) — A Texas hospital has agreed to remove a pregnant and brain-dead woman from a ventilator, after a wrenching court fight about who is alive, who is dead and how the presence of a fetus changes the equation.
Sunday’s announcement came two days after a judge in Fort Worth ordered John Peter Smith Hospital to remove any artificial means of life support from Marlise Munoz, as her family had asked. The hospital had said it was following a state law that requires hospitals to maintain life-sustaining treatment for a pregnant patient.
“From the onset, JPS has said its role was not to make nor contest law but to follow it. On Friday, a state district judge ordered the removal of life-sustaining treatment from Marlise Munoz. The hospital will follow the court order,” a hospital statement said.
The hospital acknowledged last week that Munoz, 33, had been brain dead since November 28 and that the fetus she carried was not viable. Her husband, Erick Munoz, had argued that sustaining her body artificially amounted to “the cruel and obscene mutilation of a deceased body” against her wishes and those of her family.
Tarrant County District Judge R.H. Wallace gave the hospital until 5 p.m. Monday to comply with the family’s wishes.
Munoz was 14 weeks pregnant with the couple’s second child when her husband found her unconscious on their kitchen floor November 26. Erick Munoz and other family members said the hospital should abide by her wishes — which weren’t written down but relayed verbally to them, they said — and not have machines keep her organs and blood running.
In an affidavit filed Thursday in court, Erick Munoz said little to him now is recognizable about Marlise. Her bones crack when her stiff limbs move. Her usual scent has been replaced by the “smell of death.” And her once lively eyes have become “soulless.”
The hospital’s position drew support from demonstrators outside the hospital, some of whom held signs last week that read “God stands for life” and “Praying for Baby Munoz and family.” But others countered with placards bearing messages like “Let Marlise rest in peace” and “Respect Marlise’s wishes.”