Fort Worth Hospital Complies With Judge's Order, Removes Marlise Munoz From Life Support

Categories: Healthcare

marlisemunoz.jpeg
Update: On Sunday, Marlise Munoz was allowed to die.

According to attorneys for her family, Fort Worth's JPS Hospital removed Munoz, 23 weeks pregnant, from life support at about 11:30 a.m. Her body was released to her husband, Erick Munoz.

The hospital had announced earlier in the day that it would not appeal Judge R.H. Wallace's ruling ordering it to discontinue treatment.

"From the onset, JPS has said its role was not to make nor contest law but to follow it," JPS said in a statement. "On Friday, a state district judge ordered the removal of life-sustaining treatment from Marlise Munoz. The hospital will follow the court order."

Original post, 6:58 p.m. January 24 Marlise Munoz's husband, Erick, kept his head down, quietly sobbing, as Judge R.H. Wallace calmly repeated what was obvious to everyone in the courtroom, even the hospital fighting to keep his wife's body on life support. "Mrs. Munoz is dead," Wallace said, citing a definition of death under the Texas Health and Safety Code. But after months seeing Marlise Munoz kept on life support against their wishes, her family can't close this chapter in their long ordeal just yet. John Peter Smith Hospital has until Monday at 5 p.m. to decide whether it will appeal the judge's ruling.

Asked for her take on the hospital getting that opportunity, Erick Munoz's attorney Jessica Janicek only repeated that the hospital has until Monday to appeal. "That's my take," she said. "I hope not, but if they appeal we will respond accordingly."

Both sides agree that Marlise Munoz has been clinically brain-dead since her husband found her unconscious in late November and that her fetus, now about 22 weeks old, has little chance of developing into a healthy baby, if it even survives. Yesterday, Munoz's attorneys had described the fetus as "distinctly abnormal." And earlier today the hospital had said in a court filing that Munoz has "met the clinical criteria for brain death" since November 28, and that her fetus is "not viable."

Despite acknowledging that, the hospital has essentially taken the stance that a sickly fetus inside a dying body required them to keep Munoz on life support.

The hospital has argued that removing life support "would cause the death of the unborn child," thus violating section 166.049 of the Texas Health and Safety Code. The code says that "a person may not withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment ... from a pregnant patient."

But whether that state law is constitutional in this case is an argument that Judge Wallace wouldn't touch. He simply ruled that the mother is already dead. "In light of that ruling, the Court makes no rulings on the Plaintiff's constitutional challenges to Section 166.049," the ruling says.

After he announced his decision, as much of the court cleared out, Erick Munoz remained with his attorney and family. Janicek asked him if he wanted to talk to reporters. He shook his head "no." She assured him that it was OK.

Shortly afterward, the hospital issued a statement to the public providing little clarity on whether or not the fight is actually over. The hospital's managers still need time to think: "JPS Health Network appreciates the potential impact of the consequences of the order on all parties involved and will be consulting with the Tarrant County District Attorney's Office."


Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
41 comments
iblobar
iblobar

Good, now family can 'deal' and 'grieve',,u so called Christians r just too much,,,but then u guys r picking up the check,,,no???

Kria04
Kria04

Having read the majority of the comments, being in the medical field, and having a background in Christianity, I still believe the right choice was made.  The question would have been if the fetus was viable, but as it was determined not to be, there is no further need to keep her on life support.  The right decision was made- hard and difficult for the husband, mind you, but appropriate nonetheless.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

"We also urge the Legislature to revisit and clean up the wording of Section 166.049 in 2015 so that there’s never again a question of whether a corpse is a mother-to-be."

Kudos to the DMN Ed Board.

(must be Hashimoto's work).

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

I hope Erick Munoz wins a massive lawsuit against all of these bastards. If only he could seek damages from the individuals themselves, rather than taxpayers. Fuckin' Texas.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

Who is picking up the tab for the two months of hospital care after Ms. Munoz was declared brain dead and kept on life support?

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

The cruelty of the "pro-lifers" seems to know no bounds.  The fetus, as it turned out, was horribly deformed.  The family was put through hell for over two months because of a law passed by self-righteous fanatics who insist upon being the moral police for the citizens of this state. 

Daniel
Daniel

The hospital's  lead attorney is anti-choice crusader Neal Adams, who led a campaign to forbid hospital personnel from performing abortions for any reason in 1988. He sits on the advisory board of the Northeast Tarrant Right-to-Life Educational Association. If their actions aren't perverted and vile, then I scarcely know what is. 


Several of the people who actually authored the law in question have stated clearly that the hospital was misinterpreting it radically. John Peter Smith Hospital needs to pay for its crime against humanity. 


Oh, and by the by, who is going to pay the hospital bills? Neal Joseph Mengele Adams?  -- who is both John Peter Joseph Mengele Smith Hospital's lead counsel and a member of the advisory board for Tarrant Right to Life? These people are pigs.

dallassportsprinces
dallassportsprinces

On what grounds does JPS and the Tarrant County DA think they can waste anymore of the taxpayers money defending this? 

gordonhilgers
gordonhilgers

Perhaps all of you should just go one one big ski trip, and forget about anyone else forever. 

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

I hoped for a miracle that she would just wake up.  As it is, I'm more than a little uncomfortable the Public Eye is jammed into a very private family matter, compounding the husband's misery over her loss, and the tough decision he has to make.  He just wants to take her and the baby on home.  Then his family has to heal.  But now there's us.

It is unavoidable. He will bear the burden of his decision for the rest of his days.

And no doubt he must also deal with the strangers who will call and scold, pontificate, lament and otherwise treat him to the casual moralizing of a blog.


ruddski
ruddski

Don't worry, all these important decisions will be made by the next republican administration who will enjoy all the new powers granted the Executive.

Oxtail
Oxtail

@bvckvs I dunno. I think they accept it. The inevitability of death is really the common thread in all books of the Bible. Religious people are real humanists concerned with human life from conception to death.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

@bvckvs That, and they do everything they can to force their religious-influenced beliefs on non-religious people. 

Just-Sharon
Just-Sharon

@bvckvs So well put and one of two lifelong questions to ALL Christian's.


1.  If Heaven (complete with mansion, streets of gold and all your deceased family/friends) is waiting for you after death then why have any fear of it?  More to the point, why not look forward to it. 


2.  Correct me if I am wrong.  A man is going to be executed for killing and raping 20 children.  He ask for forgiveness from the Lord minutes prior to death and professes Christianity.  Does he go to Heaven?   On the other hand the Christian that lives a perfect life but dies a few minutes after committing a sin (without asking for forgiveness) would then burn in hell. 


And I ask these questions in total sincerity. 

Daniel
Daniel

@jahbrooks  His wife was already dead and the fetus was not viable. I don't know if you're a troll or have an IQ of 65, but there are a couple of salient facts for you. 

Bobtex
Bobtex

@jahbrooks There is a special place in Hell for people like you who possess not one shred of human compassion or empathy.

bifftannen
bifftannen

@holmantxJust like the miracle that graced Terri Schiavo. Dance, meat puppets, dance.

Just-Sharon
Just-Sharon

@holmantx Now who could be doing this "moralizing"? 


Could it be...  Could it be...(you will know the rest if you are a long time SNL fan)

Daniel
Daniel

@ruddski As Obama enjoys the increased scope of his office bequeathed by George W. Bush. I remember making the same point, inversely, to Republican friends and family. They seemed unconcerned, because terrorists. But damn if it didn't come to pass. Imagine that!

ruddski
ruddski

Yeah, but it all works out. Non-religious people, when in a position to do so, try to force their ideology on the religious. The frictions will always be there.

marina_j
marina_j

@ruddski Vote Wendy in. Stop voting in republicans who betray the people.

ruddski
ruddski

It's ok for now, because Obama. But what happens when an evil republican assumes the throne?

Daniel
Daniel

@bvckvs @Daniel I believe they chose to behave that way. The lady was dead, the fetus was non-viable, and some of the people who actually crafted the law were decrying the situation as a travesty. Their chief counsel is a locally prominent pro-lifer. 

Daniel
Daniel

@bvckvs It had everything to do with the fetus and willful ignorance (willful since they're presumably trained in the medical sciences). Without a non-viable fetus to attempt to incubate in a rotting corpse, they would have happily let nature take its course, as they should have.

Daniel
Daniel

@bvckvs You're off-base. Religious people accept death. Every religion on Earth is more or less centered on it. At issue is whether fundamentalist Christians are capable of even the most basic human compassion whenever the opportunity arises to subjugate females into baby-making machines, even when they're fucking dead. 

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@ruddski I wouldn't call it promoting themselves.  I'd call it defending themselves from intolerant religious bigots.

ruddski
ruddski

Danny boy, I'm not the one who turned the non-belief of atheism into an ideology based on specific non-belief.

They promote the non-ideology, they have meetings to discuss the non-ideology, they even get on comment boards to proclaim the superiority of the non-ideology.

Now, about your brand of trolling, non-ideological bullcrap, I doubt you believe a word you say.

Daniel
Daniel

@ruddski Non-religiousness is not in and of itself an ideology. Ruddski, I reluctantly concede that it's occasionally apparent that you're actually too intelligent to believe the bullshit you spew. Is it really that much fun being a troll?

ruddski
ruddski

I don't wear an undershirt, and I like reminding our lefties how easily duped they are.

I hope you're in errrrr.... Compliance.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

Good thing you've got this site to to rant about Obama with endless non sequitur postings because it gives you a break from yelling at the TV in your sweat-stained undershirt.

ruddski
ruddski

I'm agnostic, and even I know that atheists promote atheism. They have billboards.

Funny you should mention Snake Oil, which is a health-care thing, in the age of Obamacare, which is a fraud thing.

Just-Sharon
Just-Sharon

@ruddski No, I think you are flat out wrong on that.  There is nothing to PROMOTE with agnostics or atheists.   I think you might be referring to people questioning a particular cult or belief system or defending their right not to believe.


But most of us have no snake oil to sale.   And we are find allowing people to believe what ever they want but laws should not be made around their beliefs.

Bobtex
Bobtex

@bvckvs You believe that there is no Hell and I believe that there is no Hell, but the people whom I was describing apparently do believe that there is a Hell.  I just wanted to assure them of where their place would  be, according to their beliefs (not mine).

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...