Written by: Carole Novielli
Update at 4:17 p.m.:
The judge has sided with the family of Marlise Muñoz and ordered JPS Hospital to declare the pregnant woman dead and withdraw life support by 5 p.m. Monday.
Muñoz husband, Erick Muñoz, declined to comment as he left the courtroom. His attorney Jessica Janicek said justice was done.
Larry M. Thompson, attorney for the hospital, referred comment to JPS.
Munoz’s other attorney, Heather King, would not discuss the hospital’s argument, noting that JPS had the option to appeal the decision by Monday afternoon.
Read more from the DMN:
Attorneys for the family of a pregnant Haltom City woman who has been on life support at John Peter Smith Hospital for eight weeks issued a statement late Wednesday that the fetus is “distinctly abnormal.”
“[T]he fetus is distinctly abnormal,” said Muñoz family attorneys Heather King and Jessica Janicek in the statement. “Even at this early stage, the lower extremities are deformed to the extent that the gender cannot be determined.”
The attorneys say the fetus has hydrocephalus (water on the brain), and a possible heart problem, though details can’t be determined “due to the immobile nature of Mrs. Muñoz’s deceased body.”
The fetus, which was deprived of oxygen for “an indeterminate length of time, is gestating within a dead and deteriorating body as the horrified family looks on,” the attorneys said.
Marlise Muñoz, 33, was 14 weeks pregnant when she collapsed Nov. 26. She was taken to JPS, where doctors told her husband that she was brain-dead. He and other relatives asked that life support be removed.
The attorneys ended the statement reiterating the complaints filed in the suit are not directly related to the condition of the fetus, but rather to the vital status of the mother, saying the statute requiring life-sustaining measures for a pregnant patient “does not apply to the dead.”
“Were that to be true, then it would be incumbent upon all health care providers to immediately conduct pregnancy tests on any woman of childbearing age who becomes deceased, and upon determining the deceased body was pregnant, hooking the body up to machines in an attempt to continue gestation,” the statement reads. “Surely, such a result was never intended nor should it be inferred.”
Fort Worth attorney Trent Loftin, who isn’t connected to the case, said he believes Friday’s hearing in front of District Judge R.H. Wallace likely won’t be the end of the case.
“I think whatever the judge decides, the other side will appeal to the second court of appeals and eventually to the supreme court of the state of Texas,” Loftin said.
Pro-life citizens of Texas recently rallied in support of the Texas law saying the law protected life. (click here for more quotes, vids and pics of that rally
Pastor Stephen E. Broden of Fair Park Bible Fellowship and Founder of National Black Pro-Life Coalition told supporters, “There is a baby, the baby is alive…There is an alternative for the family. There are families willing to take the baby and provide a safe place for it to grow in a loving environment. If we err, we should err on the side of life,” he said.
“We feel great compassion for the family of Marlise Munoz and her pre-born baby. No one ever wants to be in their difficult and tragic situation,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue who suggested the vigil to local activists. “Marlise wanted this baby, and as long as there is a chance that he or she can be saved, we support John Peter Smith Hospital in their bid to follow the law and protect this baby’s life.”
January 22, 2014 Anderson Cooper’s panel discussed the Marlise Munoz case – the family wants her removed from life support which would kill the unborn child who at this point is almost 24 weeks along.
Anderson Cooper falsely states that Marlise Munoz had a written statement of her wishes and after the show he gave a statement of correction not showing on this video.