News Law and Policy

Judge Orders Marlise Munoz Removed From Mechanical Support

Jessica Mason Pieklo

The Friday ruling came after Munoz's family asked a court to let them bury her.

Read more of our coverage on Marlise Munoz’s case here.

After an hour of arguments Friday in the case of Marlise Munoz, the pregnant woman who has been kept on life support against her and her family’s wishes so her pregnancy could continue, a Texas judge ordered John Peter Smith Hospital to declare the woman dead and withdraw life support by 5 p.m. Monday.

The arguments came after attorneys for Marlise Munoz’s husband, Erick, filed an emergency motion with the court to try and get the hospital to remove life support measures from Munoz, who suffered a pulmonary embolism in November and was declared legally brain dead. Despite the fact that Munoz is brain dead, and that she and her family were clear that she did not want life-supporting measures to be taken, the hospital never officially pronounced her dead, because, according to hospital attorneys, Texas law permitted the hospital to override those wishes in attempts to save her developing fetus.

Attorneys for the hospital finally admitted earlier this week that the fetus Munoz is carrying is not viable, after tests showed the fetus is severely malformed and suffers from developmental problems related to likely oxygen deprivation. Attorneys for the hospital also conceded in the hearing that if Munoz were alive, she would elect to abort the fetus.

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The hospital has the option to appeal the ruling.

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