Archive for Erick Munoz

Attorney Reflection on the Munoz Tragedy

Posted in Brain Death, Life Support with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 13, 2014 by saynsumthn

A Reflection on the Munoz Tragedy
H/T Life Legal Defense Foundation

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Many in the pro-life community are reflecting on two tragic stories with very different outcomes: the Munoz situation in Texas and the Benson situation in Canada. In both, the wife and mother was declared brain dead. In the Benson story, Iver Benson, son of Dylan Benson and his now deceased wife, Robyn, has been allowed to live.

Texas Attorney Jeff Turner reflection on the tragedy of the Baby Munoz situation is compelling , he originally published it for Texans for Life – here. This blog has added images to his comments:

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Jeff-Turner300x268On Friday, January 24, the 96th District Courtroom in Tarrant County, Texas was the stage for a tragic tale, not told by idiots, but still one “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” And by nothing, I mean a profound absence. The tale is one that will be retold more often as medical technology advances to keep people alive, in this case, Marlise Munoz, who in November 2013 suffered a pulmonary embolism when she was fourteen weeks into her pregnancy.

Teddy Bear JPS Signs

Her husband and her parents asked John Peter Smith Hospital to discontinue all life-sustaining treatment for her, which action indirectly would cause the death of her (and his) child in utero. They contend that the very doctors treating her reported that she was brain dead and recommended the withdrawal of such treatment. The hospital did not oblige their request, relying solely on a provision of the Texas Health & Safety Code that provides that a “person may not withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment under this subchapter from a pregnant woman.” (emphasis added).

Sue and son signs

Absent from the courtroom, however, was any mention of God as the Author of all human life, including that of Baby Munoz. The mystery of God’s purpose in permitting this tale to unfold will remain that—an impenetrable mystery. What can be known is that He willed Baby Munoz’ life into existence and that fact deserves some weight. It is congruent with America’s Judeo-Christian heritage that God be included in her judicial determinations. The United States Supreme Court still opens each session with “God save the United States and this honorable court.” Edith Jones, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, placed a replicated Harlan Bible (named after Justice John Marshall Harlan’s personal Bible which he donated to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1906) prominently in her chambers “as a reminder to all who visit that we … remember our judgments are ultimately subject to a Divine standard.” The “Divine standard” is love: love of God and of neighbor, and love sometimes requires sacrifice of one’s own rights, interests, and desires for the benefit of another, like Baby Munoz. Love sometimes requires one to “wait for the Lord with courage.” Psalms 27:14. There was no mention of this “Divine standard” in the 96th District Court in determining the fate of Baby Munoz.

Troy Newman PrayingStephen Broden arms up

Also absent was any advocate for Mrs. Munoz or for Baby Munoz. Larry Thompson, the Assistant District Attorney who represented JPS Hospital, informed this writer that the appointment of an attorney ad litem or guardian ad litem had been considered; however, no such appointment was sought. This decision was a glaring error. An attorney appointed to zealously represent each party would have forced Mr. Munoz’ attorneys to prove his case. For example, does Mrs. Munoz’s medical condition satisfy the legal definition for “death?” The same Health & Safety Code states that a person is dead “when, according to ordinary standards of medical practice, there is irreversible cessation of the person’s spontaneous respiratory and circulatory functions.” It further states that “if artificial means of support preclude a determination that a person’s spontaneous respiratory and circulatory functions have ceased, the person is dead when, in the announced opinion of a physician, according to ordinary standards of medical practice, there is irreversible cessation of all spontaneous brain function. Death occurs when the relevant functions cease.” Death must be pronounced before a doctor can discontinue artificial or mechanical means of supporting a person’s respiratory and circulatory systems. Because artificial means of support had been initiated when Mrs. Munoz first arrived at JPS Hospital, the fact whether “all” of her spontaneous brain function had stopped became a critical issue.

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“Brain death” was introduced in 1968 by an ad hoc committee of the Harvard Medical School in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It was introduced mainly to facilitate “organ harvesting” and to reallocate resources away from patients whose prognosis was unfavorable. Unfortunately, after three decades of clinical implementation, this standard has proven to be “conceptually flawed,” according to medical ethicist Dan Wikler of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, a member of a 1981 presidential commission that recommended a uniform law defining death. There is no reliable way to determine “irreversible cessation of all spontaneous brain function” unless and until the entire brain has been destroyed; but, in order for this destruction to occur, the respiratory and circulatory functions must stop. Cases have occurred in which the patient met the test for “brain death” because an EEG could not detect electrical activity on his brain’s surface, but the patient clearly had functioning of the mid-brain and brain stem, and maybe even of the cortex. The brain may not be the exclusive central organizing organ of the human person. Doctors have reported over thirty cases of protracted survival of “brain dead” patients, ranging from one week to fourteen years.

No expert witness was called to testify on behalf of Mrs. Munoz. Instead, the assistant district attorney, representing the state and not Mrs. Munoz or Baby Munoz, simply stipulated that the mother was “brain dead.” That stipulation practically decided the case.

Carole Novielli

An advocate for Baby Munoz not only would have challenged the allegation of “brain death” but also would have raised the equally crucial question of whether his client was viable. Viability refers to the gestational age at which a child in utero has a 50% chance to survive outside the womb. Most doctors believe viability is reached around 24 weeks of gestation. However, there is no hard and fast rule. Amillia Taylor, for example, was born in 2006 at 21 weeks, 6 days of gestation (but under 20 weeks from fertilization). At nine inches and 10 ounces, she faced digestive and respiratory issues and a brain hemorrhage. Today, “she runs, she plays, she does things she’s not supposed to do.” But, again, the assistant district attorney essentially threw the case by stipulating that Baby Munoz was not viable.

Another gaping absence was any discussion of medical ethics. As soon as a woman becomes pregnant, there are two patients. The first rule of medical ethics is: Do no harm. Removing the ventilator (which supports but does not substitute for the respiratory system) from Mrs. Munoz obviously caused harm to Baby Munoz. He brain deathdied. The second rule is: Take all reasonable action to give the patient a fair chance to live. All that Baby Munoz needed was 3 to 4 more weeks. This would not have been the first time a brain-dead pregnant woman delivered a baby. In 2012, in Michigan, Christine Bolden delivered twins before her respirator was removed. Dr. Cosmas Vandeven, a specialist in high-risk pregnancies at University of Michigan hospital, said that an important ethical issue in such cases is whether a brain-dead woman would suffer by being kept on a respirator and undergoing a C-section. “Almost every parent would give their life for their child,” Dr. Vandeven opined. “But you need to get truly independent opinions: Are we sure we’re not causing harm to the mom?” Ms. Bolden’s brother said, “I know she wants the babies to be with us. This has brought our family together.”

In contrast, the Texas courtroom stage was filled with provocative commentary on Mrs. Munoz’ allegedly decaying corpse and the “smell of death.” Mr. Munoz’ attorneys pursued a backhanded ad hominem attack against JPS Hospital employees by accusing them of engaging in a scientific experiment with Mrs. Munoz’ body, thus questioning their motives. The defense failed to offer any alternative argument to its insistence that the Texas Health & Safety Code applies to a pregnant woman, whom it already had stipulated was dead, when the relevant subchapter at issue concerns only “qualified patient[s]” who have been diagnosed with a terminal or irreversible condition, Implicitly, it does not apply to a dead patient.

This writer does not question the motive of either the hospital employees or Mr. Munoz. This writer does question whether Mrs. Munoz or Baby Munoz received a fair hearing and whether all available legal and ethical arguments were presented.

In Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth found no meaning or purpose in life after his wife’s death. Let us pray that Mr. Munoz will find meaning and purpose after the death of his wife and child. Let us pray further that our culture, including our judiciary, will strive to meet the Divine standard by which we all will be judged.

The author, Jeff Turner, is a lawyer, poet, and human rights activist. This article appeared in Texas for Life Coalition’s Blog at http://texlife.org/2014/01/rest-in-peace-mrs-and-baby-munoz/.

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This blog has written extensively on the Munoz tragedy.

The designation of “brain death” is a controversial one and presents moral and ethical issues, especially when the life of a baby is involved. There are many cases where babies have survived after the mothers have experienced similar situations to that of Marlise Munoz.

Here are some examples:

In 1982 a brain dead woman was put on life support for several days until her unborn child could be delivered.

Michele Odette Poole was delivered in 1985 after her mother was declared brain dead. Her father won a legal battle against the woman’s parents who had requested that life support be disconnected

In March of 1986, doctors successfully delivered a baby at the University of California’s Moffitt Hospital, whose mother was declared legally dead in January and was kept on life support to protect the child.

In November of 1991, Tracy Bucher gave birth to a baby boy after she was pronounced as brain dead. She was kept on life support for six weeks while her unborn child developed inside her.

In November of 1997, Lisa Nottingham was four months when she suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and was declared brain dead in August. She was kept alive by a machine until her baby could safely be delivered the following November.

Susan Anne Catherine Tores was born in September of 2005 after her mother was kept on life support for three months after being pronounced legally dead. Despite heroic efforts the child succumbed to a respiratory illness and died a few days later.

In June of 2006, a brain dead woman kept alive for more than two months gave birth to a baby girl. She was named Christine and her last name was withheld by the media.

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#MarliseMunoz unborn baby Nicole to be cremated with mother

Posted in Life Support, pro-choice violence, Stephen Broden with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 28, 2014 by saynsumthn

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Four big-name Republicans running for lieutenant governor said Monday night that a Texas judge erred when he ordered a brain-dead, pregnant woman off life support and vowed if elected to tighten state law so that a similar outcome couldn’t happen again.

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“It is an extremely difficult set of circumstances. But we need to make certain that as a society, we are protecting life,” Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples said.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and state Sen. Dan Patrick echoed similar sentiments after a Fort Worth hospital complied this weekend with an order to pull life-sustaining treatment for Marlise Munoz and her 23-week-old fetus.

“We need to clarify the law on this and permit this baby to be born,” Dewhurst said.

Dewhurst

Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott, through a spokesman, said the case was a “heartbreaking tragedy” and that “Texas strives to protect both families and human life, and we will continue to work toward that end.”

Texas Sen. Wendy Davis, a Democrat from Fort Worth,who supports late term abortions for any reason, said through a spokeswoman that any decision like this “should be made by Mrs. Munoz’s family, in consultation with her doctors.”

Erick Munoz, the husband of pregnant Marlise Munoz who was taken off life support over the weekend says he decided to name the 23 week old unborn baby she was carrying Nicole, which was Marlise Munoz’s middle name. He says doctors told him the fetus likely would have been a girl.

The unborn child was not delivered when John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth complied Sunday with a judge’s order to pull any life-sustaining treatment from Munoz. She was declared brain-dead in November, but the hospital had kept her on machines for the sake of the fetus.

The case had inspired debates about abortion and end-of-life decisions, as well as whether a pregnant woman who is considered legally and medically dead should be kept on life support for the sake of a fetus, per Texas law. Anti-abortion activists attended Friday’s court hearing and spoke out in favor of trying to deliver the fetus. They also gathered outside JPS Hospital for a memorial service for little Nicole on Sunday.

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About 50 people gathered Sunday afternoon outside John Peter Smith Hospital in Ft Worth.

“We’re very saddened that the baby is gone,” said pro-life activist Carol Novielli, who brought a rose and stuffed animal to remember the child.

Erick told WFAA that he’s seen a lot of negative comments about his decision, and realizes that everyone is entitled to an opinion. But he says something that was always talked about with his wife was quality of life.

Erick felt the child would not have a good quality of life if it had gone without oxygen for so many hours.

“I’m just glad they are not in my shoes. I hope every day that no one ever has to go through what I went through,” he said.

The family tells News 8 that Marlise Muñoz will be cremated. There are no plans for memorial or funeral services, because the family is concerned that protesters would show up.

Operation Rescue objected to way the term “brain death” was being applied to Mrs. Munoz and with the characterization of her as a “dead corpse.”

“We are not medical professionals, but we do understand that a dead corpse cannot sustain a growing pregnancy for two months, as Mrs. Munoz did,” said Newman. “This dehumanizing terminology was intentionally used for the purpose of making the murder of her and her baby more palatable. The law was clear that life support should have been continued in order to give the child a chance, but the intent of that law was completely ignored.”

A few Texas lawmakers have vowed to change the law:

“The pain that Mr. Muñoz went through I think is… I don’t see how he’s done it,” said State Rep. Garnet Coleman (D-Houston).

“I think that’s one of the things this situation has brought out — the ambiguity in the law,” agreed State Rep. Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth).

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle want to see the code clarified in the next legislative session. But that’s where the agreements might end.

“It’s a very simple fix,” Coleman said. He will propose adding a line into the provision that nullifies it if the woman is already dead.

“You can’t remove life-saving treatment from a pregnant woman unless they are declared dead,” he said.

But Krause has a different viewpoint. He wants to see the law changed to add more protections for an unborn fetus.

“There was a little child inside Ms. Muñoz,” he said.

Krause would prefer that the fetus be appointed a guardian to protect its interests if the mother is declared dead.

“I think you always err on the side of life,” he said.

Stephen Broden arms up

Pastor Stephen Broden of Fair Park Bible Fellowship and Founder of National Black Pro-Life Coalition, who addressed the pro-life supporters during Sunday’s vigil, reminded all of the Bible verses that state, “The life is in the blood,” meaning that as long as there is circulation, there is life. That concept was confirmed by the fact that the pre-born baby was nourished and growing.

Bear on Wall Cheryl Stephen

In a statement released by Operation Rescue, they state that in addition to dehumanizing the mother, the baby was portrayed by attorneys as little more than a monster, leading one Twitter poster to ask, “The baby was deformed. How is that murder?”

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“This baby was a precious gift and his or her life had value even if there were developmental issues. We don’t kill people because they are handicapped,” said Newman. “This was a naked attempt to redefine life and death in subjective terms that would make it acceptable to end the lives of people that have become inconvenient. This is a very dangerous road to travel on and could lead to lost protections for all our lives. We are thankful that we had the opportunity to speak the truth in opposition to this horrific attempt to strip two precious human beings of their humanity and dignity along with their lives.”

WFAA Channel 8 Reporter Jobin Panicker tweeted that Erick Munoz, “tells me that #MarliseMunoz will be cremated.”

A post on the facebook page SAVE BABY MUNOZ reads:

The death of Baby Munoz represents a colossal failure on so many levels. Her father failed her. The Attorney General of Texas Greg Abbot failed her. The hospital failed her. Finally, by usurping the will of the people of Texas, the courts failed her. If only one of those in position to stop this execution of Baby Munoz would have stepped up to the plate and done the right thing she would have been born alive in the next few weeks. Baby Munoz was a human being who deserved the same legal protections of born people. The truth is Baby Munoz was executed by judicial tyranny.”

Pastor Stephen Broden is reporting that since he led the prayer vigil in support of life for baby Munoz, he is, has :received a vicious and vile phone call blasting me for conducting prayer vigils for the Munoz baby. The language was mean and abhorrent. We are living in a strange and usual time.”

Sit in / prayer vigil to stop pregnant woman being pulled from life support

Posted in Life Support with tags , , , , , , on January 26, 2014 by saynsumthn

munoz familyDistrict Judge R.H. Wallace has ruled the pregnant mother being kept alive at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth should be removed from life support.

He has given the Hospital until 5:00PM to appeal the decision. But pro-lifers concerned for Baby Munoz said they are not waiting that long.

Hospital officials have said they were bound by the Texas Advance Directives Act, which prohibits withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment from a pregnant patient. But in his brief ruling, Wallace said that “Mrs. Munoz is dead,” meaning that the hospital was misapplying the law. The ruling did not mention the fetus.

The hospital has not pronounced her dead and has continued to treat her over the objections of both Erick Munoz and her parents, who sat together in court Friday.

Larry Thompson, a state’s attorney representing the public hospital, told the judge Friday that the hospital recognized the Munoz family’s pain and rights, but said it had a greater legal responsibility to protect the fetus.

“There is a life involved, and the life is the unborn child,” Thompson said.

Former state District Judge Sharen Wilson sent a statement explaining that the district attorney only advises hospital officials.

But she added: “As [a] private citizen, Wilson would hope JPS would appeal and put the baby’s life first.”

Pro-lifers have set-up a Facebook page for Marlise and her baby and are planning a protest,

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According to the group, Operation Rescue, they plan to protest outside the hospital Sunday afternoon in opposition to the unwarranted killing of Mrs. Munoz andd her baby.

They also plan peaceful sit-in is planned in the office of Robert Earley, President and Chief Executive Officer of JPS Hospital. The sit-in participants are willing to engage in peaceful civil disobedience in order to encourage the hospital to appeal the horrific decision by Judge R.H. Wallace, Jr. to remove life support from Mrs. Munoz and her baby.

A recent study has shown that babies in similar circumstances have about a 50% survival rate. All that is needed is just a few more weeks until baby Munoz can be safely delivered and cared for properly.

Operation Rescue has more than one couple who have volunteered to adopt Baby Munoz, whether or not he or she is born with health problems.

Please join national pro-life leaders, Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue, and Pastor Stephan Broden of Fair Park Bible Fellowship and Founder of National Black Pro-Life Coalition, on Sunday, January 26 at 4:00pm outside JPS Hospital, located at 1400-1598 S. Main Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76104.

“As Christians, we are compelled by faith to intervene on behalf of Mrs. Munoz and her child in obedience to Proverbs 24:ll, which states, ‘Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter,'” stated Newman. “The law that was meant to be on the side of Baby Munoz has failed to protect the most vulnerable. We cannot in good conscience stand idly by while this injustice wrongly takes two innocent lives.”

“We must make every attempt to save this baby. He or she is a person, guaranteed protection under the constitution. 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,” said Pastor Broden. “If we err, we should err on the side of life.”

Judge orders brain dead pregnant mom removed from life support – pro-lifers respond

Posted in Life Support with tags , , , , , , on January 24, 2014 by saynsumthn

Update at 4:17 p.m.:

District Judge R.H. Wallace ruled Friday afternoon the brain-dead, pregnant mother being kept alive at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth should be removed from life support.

The state could appeal before the decision can be carried out!

Judge Wallace said Mrs. Muñoz must be removed from 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 and WFAA.

District Judge R.H. Wallace listened to an hour of arguments Friday afternoon, and both sides agree that Marlise Muñoz’s fetus is not viable and she is dead.

It’s whether she’s been “pronounced” dead that appears to be the sticking point.

Fox Story

“I respect JPS’ arguments in trying to follow the law,” the judge said, “but every section doesn’t apply to someone who is dead.”

Attorneys for John Peter Smith Hospital and Erick Muñoz presented their cases about the right of the fetus to live and the right of the mother to die.

Fox Story 2

Read on FOX

Operation Rescue issues the following statement in response to Judge R.H. Wallace, Jr.’s ruling this afternoon ordering John Peter Smith Hospital to terminate life support to Marlise Munoz and thereby kill her pre-born baby. This statement is attributable to Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue.

We are appalled by Judge Wallace’s order to terminate life support for Marlise Munoz and her baby. The order is the equivalent of signing a death sentence for Baby Munoz. We utterly reject the false notion that Marlise’s body is a rotting corpse, which is impossible since a decaying body cannot support the life of a baby for weeks, as Marlise has.

Killing people because they are disabled is wrong, and dangerously devalues all life. We condemn in the strongest terms this order to fatally discriminate against this disabled mother and her baby, especially in light of the fact that there are people standing by to adopt the baby knowing that the child will have special needs.

Texas Alliance for Life Tweeted: We’re saddened by the judge’s order to remove the life support from #MarliseMunoz. Decision fails to recognize interests of the unborn child

PREVIOUSLY THIS WEEK:

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.”

munoz family

“[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.”

Munoz Statement

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

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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.

WFAA protest

“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.

Munoz family releases statement on unborn baby whose mother is on life support

Posted in Life Support with tags , , , , , , , on January 23, 2014 by saynsumthn

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.”

munoz family

“[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.”

Munoz Statement

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

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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.

WFAA protest

“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.

Unborn baby granted time as Judge recuses herself from Muñoz case

Posted in Life Support, Stephen Broden with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2014 by saynsumthn

State District Judge Melody Wilkinson has recused herself from hearing a suit against JPS Health Network that was filed this week by the family of a pregnant Haltom City woman who is brain dead and being kept on life support against the family’s wishes, according to the Ft Worth Star Telegraph.

Neither judge Wilkinson nor the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office would elaborate on the move, but Bud Kennedy, a reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, tweeted Thursday that Wilkinson’s campaign treasurer is also general counsel for JPS Health Network, the hospital’s parent company.

munoz family

Marlise Muñoz, 33, has been hospitalized since just before Thanksgiving after she was stricken with what doctors believe was a pulmonary embolism. She was 14 weeks pregnant. After doctors told the family that she was considered brain-dead, the family asked that life support be removed.

Her husband, Erick Muñoz, sued JPS on Tuesday, asking that the hospital stop further medical procedures and remove his wife from respirators, ventilators or other “life support” and release her body.

JPS officials have refused, citing an Texas law that requires pregnant women to be kept on life support until the fetus is viable, usually at 24 to 26 weeks.

In a letter to Jeff Walker, administrative judge for this region, Wilkinson noted: “The Munoz case has time sensitive issues which require immediate attention. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.”

Walker said he will be out of town until Monday and state District Judge R.H. Wallace is serving as presiding judge. When Wallace’s office receives Wilkinson’s notice, the case will be reassigned, Walker said.

That Texas law states: “Sec. 166.049. PREGNANT PATIENTS. �A person may not withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment under this subchapter from a pregnant patient.”

Tuesday morning, Erick Munoz filed suit in Tarrant County District Court. In the suit, he says the hospital has diagnosed her has “brain dead” and that all life-sustaining treatments should be stopped.

Keeping her alive “makes no sense, and amounts to nothing more than the cruel and obscene mutilation of a deceased body against the expressed will of the deceased and her family.”

A copy of the suit is available here

The documents state that, “Although the hospital has not publically released an official diagnosis of Marlise’s condition, Erick has been informed by JPS, and from that information believes, that Marlise is brain dead. At the time of the filing of this document, Erick still awaits the release of Marlise’s medical records, for which the necessary releases have been duly executed and provided..JPS has informed Erick and his family that Marlise Munoz is brain dead, and as such, Erick asserts that she is legally dead under Texas law. Despite the fact that Marlise is dead, JPS refuses to remove Marlise from the “life sustaining” treatment, thus mutilating, disturbing and damaging Marlise’s deceased body, and further refusing to release it to Erick for proper preservation and burial…Erick vehemently opposes any further alleged “life sustaining” measures, surgery or treatment to be performed by JPS on the deceased body of his wife, Marlise. Erick has repeatedly expressed his wishes, and the wishes of Marlise, to JPS, to no avail. Defendants (including JPS) have instead consistently refused Erick’s requests to remove the “life sustaining” treatments from Marlise’s deceased body , and continue to perform medical procedures on Marlise against Erick’s wishes…”

The court papers further state, “Consequently, as Marlise is deceased, she cannot possibly be a “pregnant patient” under Section 166.049 of the TEXAS HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE, nor can Marlise be subject to any “life-sustaining” treatment pursuant to Chapter 166 of the Code…As a result, JPS should be ordered to immediately remove Marlise from these devices… Notwithstanding the fact that Marlise is deceased, even if JPS were to argue that Section 166.049 were to apply to Marlise’s unborn fetus, it is clear by the plain language of Section 166.049 that this Section only applies to a “pregnant patient”, and does not extend the prohibition of withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining support to a fetus…Marlise was competent when she made her medical directives to both her husband, Erick, and her parents. ..To take those rights away from Marlise, and force her to be subject to various medical procedures simply because she is pregnant, is a gross violation of her constitutional rights.”

The hospital referred requests for comment to the Tarrant County district attorney’s office, which said it will defend the medical facility against the lawsuit. It is legal counsel for John Peter Smith Hospital “in a number of civil areas.”

Munoz’s husband says that “Marlise cannot possibly be a pregnant patient — Marlise is dead.” Furthermore, he argued that her wishes — relayed, he said, in conversations but not in writing that she not be on “life-sustaining” measures when she is brain dead — shouldn’t be treated differently than a man or other woman simply because of her pregnancy.

Pro-life leaders are speaking out on this issue.

The lawsuit launched by Erick #Munoz is nothing less than an attempt to kill his wife and #unborn child. It’s a sad mockery of the meaning of fatherhood and of love, life and law,” said Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life in a statement to Fox News.

PRO-LIFERS are begging the family and the courts to uphold the law so the unborn child can survive until viability:

IMG_0658 (Sue Cry and her family gathered to pray for Baby Munoz Photo credit: Carole Novielli)

This past Sunday afternoon (January 12, 2014) a group or pro-life leaders held a prayer vigil outside the Texas hospital where a 33-year-old pregnant woman is being kept on life-support to give her 20-week-old pre-born baby an chance at life.

IMG_0670

__________________________________________________

As was expected the side of death protested for the removal of life support at the same time.

IMG_0627IMG_0620Marlise MUnoz Oppositiondead_pregnancy_protest_1200x675_114947651813

_______________________________________________________________________________

“It’s about a life,” Timm Hobbs of Denton told the Ft Worth Telegraph. “We are here to support that baby.”

Hobbs was there with his wife Renee and two young sons.
Timm Hobbs Ft Worth Telegraph1rclQM.St.58(Timm Hobbs with his family photo credit Ft Worth Telegraph)

Pro-lifers were led in the reading of scriptures on life by Sue Cyr. “We know that baby was created for many wonderful things,” Cyr begins, “Revelation 5 You are a Holy Awesome God….Lord, you have told us we are our brother’s keeper and that whatever we do for the least of Thee we do for you,” she continued.

IMG_0633

The atmosphere was prayerful as media made their way to the pro-lifers.

IMG_0643IMG_0646IMG_0644
_____________________________________________________

NARAL Pro-choice America has set up a petition they say is “for the Munoz family.” The family wants the 20 week pregnant mother disconnected from life support which would kill the baby. Pro-lifers oppose this move as it would kill the unborn child.

IMG_0683

Local Pro-lifer Carole Novielli responded, “What I find outrageous is that there is no written directive which spells out Marlise’s wishes. This woman has carried her child for 20 weeks, she obviously wanted this baby. Yet NARAL, who always claims to ‘protect women’ has decided to side with the woman’s husband in this case and to call for life support to be pulled. NARAL always sides with death and in this case it is the death of a woman and her child. When will the media call NARAL out on this hypocrisy? Regardless, Texas law clearly states that a pregnant woman must be kept alive in cases such as these.”

Novielli is interviewed in the news videos from WFAA below:

______________________________________________
IMG_0660( Rev. Stephen Broden Photo credit: Carole Novielli)

Pastor Stephen E. Broden of Fair Park Bible Fellowship and Founder of National Black Pro-Life Coalition led the vigil in support of Marlise and her baby.

IMG_0673

There is a baby, the baby is alive and has a heartbeat and it is growing,” Rev. Broden tells the crowd. “So we want to pray that God will move and soften the hearts of the Munoz family,” he said.
IMG_0676

____________________________________________

Being brain dead is not the affirmative biological definition of death,” Broden exclaims. “It is a created definition. It was created in 1960 by a group of doctors at Harvard,” Broden explains.

IMG_0671

The mother is nurturing that baby now, the baby is growing. Father we ask you that the child’s father would recognize that value and the dignity of that life and he would allow the baby to live. So we are praying now that there would be a softening of his heart and the grandparents that are involved and recognize that this is life. That they Father, would release their demand to have the ventilation removed, to pull the plug. But rather insist that they allow the baby to live.”

___________________________________________________________________

IMG_0634
The designation of “brain death” is a controversial one and presents moral and ethical issues, especially when the life of a baby is involved. There are many cases where babies have survived after the mothers have experienced similar situations to that of Marlise Munoz. There is a very strong possibility that Marlise’s baby could survive, given a little more time.

Here are some examples:

In 1982 a brain dead woman was put on life support for several days until her unborn child could be delivered.

Michele Odette Poole was delivered in 1985 after her mother was declared brain dead. Her father won a legal battle against the woman’s parents who had requested that life support be disconnected

In March of 1986, doctors successfully delivered a baby at the University of California’s Moffitt Hospital, whose mother was declared legally dead in January and was kept on life support to protect the child.

In November of 1991, Tracy Bucher gave birth to a baby boy after she was pronounced as brain dead. She was kept on life support for six weeks while her unborn child developed inside her.

In November of 1997, Lisa Nottingham was four months when she suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and was declared brain dead in August. She was kept alive by a machine until her baby could safely be delivered the following November.

Susan Anne Catherine Tores was born in September of 2005 after her mother was kept on life support for three months after being pronounced legally dead. Despite heroic efforts the child succumbed to a respiratory illness and died a few days later.

In June of 2006, a brain dead woman kept alive for more than two months gave birth to a baby girl. She was named Christine and her last name was withheld by the media.

IMG_0678

The Munoz family told Fox 4 in Dallas that when Marlise went down it was uncertain how long the baby was without oxygen. Erick Munoz said that is a concern for him.

Fox 4 News of the protests:

Is it possible that the real concern here for Marlise’s husband is the health of his unborn child rather than Marlise’s wishes which were never put in writing?” asked Novielli.

Renee Pic1014404_720833104616335_1418685574_n

IMG_0675

We must save this baby. It is a person, guaranteed protection under the Constitution,” Broden told the Ft Worth Telegraph.

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.

PHOTO CREDITS HERE

Texas man goes to court to have his pregnant wife removed from life support and kill his unborn child

Posted in Life Support with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 14, 2014 by saynsumthn

Written by Carole Novielli (photo credits:/all photos unmarked=same)

BREAKING JAN 14, 2014

Marlise Munoz collapsed in her home last November from an apparent blood clot in her lungs when she was 14 weeks pregnant with her second child. Her husband and other family members have asked the John Peter Smith Hospital in Ft. Worth to remove Marlise from life support after they were told she was “brain dead.” Ending life support would also end her pre-born baby’s life.

munoz family

So far John Peter Smith Hospital officials have refused to follow the family’s request, citing a Texas law that prohibits hospitals from removing life support from pregnant women.

That Texas statute states: “Sec. 166.049. PREGNANT PATIENTS. �A person may not withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment under this subchapter from a pregnant patient.”

Tuesday morning, Erick Munoz took another step toward fulfilling JPS’ wish for clarity, filing suit in Tarrant County District Court. In the suit, he says the hospital has diagnosed her has “brain dead” and that all life-sustaining treatments should be stopped.

Keeping her alive “makes no sense, and amounts to nothing more than the cruel and obscene mutilation of a deceased body against the expressed will of the deceased and her family.”

A copy of the suit is available here

The documents state that, “Although the hospital has not publically released an official diagnosis of Marlise’s condition, Erick has been informed by JPS, and from that information believes, that Marlise is brain dead. At the time of the filing of this document, Erick still awaits the release of Marlise’s medical records, for which the necessary releases have been duly executed and provided..JPS has informed Erick and his family that Marlise Munoz is brain dead, and as such, Erick asserts that she is legally dead under Texas law. Despite the fact that Marlise is dead, JPS refuses to remove Marlise from the “life sustaining” treatment, thus mutilating, disturbing and damaging Marlise’s deceased body, and further refusing to release it to Erick for proper preservation and burial…Erick vehemently opposes any further alleged “life sustaining” measures, surgery or treatment to be performed by JPS on the deceased body of his wife, Marlise. Erick has repeatedly expressed his wishes, and the wishes of Marlise, to JPS, to no avail. Defendants (including JPS) have instead consistently refused Erick’s requests to remove the “life sustaining” treatments from Marlise’s deceased body , and continue to perform medical procedures on Marlise against Erick’s wishes…”

The court papers further state, “Consequently, as Marlise is deceased, she cannot possibly be a “pregnant patient” under Section 166.049 of the TEXAS HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE, nor can Marlise be subject to any “life-sustaining” treatment pursuant to Chapter 166 of the Code…As a result, JPS should be ordered to immediately remove Marlise from these devices… Notwithstanding the fact that Marlise is deceased, even if JPS were to argue that Section 166.049 were to apply to Marlise’s unborn fetus, it is clear by the plain language of Section 166.049 that this Section only applies to a “pregnant patient”, and does not extend the prohibition of withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining support to a fetus…Marlise was competent when she made her medical directives to both her husband, Erick, and her parents. ..To take those rights away from Marlise, and force her to be subject to various medical procedures simply because she is pregnant, is a gross violation of her constitutional rights.”

Pro-life leaders are speaking out on this issue.

“The lawsuit launched by Erick #Munoz is nothing less than an attempt to kill his wife and #unborn child. It’s a sad mockery of the meaning of fatherhood and of love, life and law,” said Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life in a statement to Fox News.

PRO-LIFERS are begging the family and the courts to uphold the law so the unborn child can survive until viability:

IMG_0658 (Sue Cry and her family gathered to pray for Baby Munoz Photo credit: Carole Novielli)

This past Sunday afternoon (January 12, 2014) a group or pro-life leaders held a prayer vigil outside the Texas hospital where a 33-year-old pregnant woman is being kept on life-support to give her 20-week-old pre-born baby an chance at life.

IMG_0670

__________________________________________________

As was expected the side of death protested for the removal of life support at the same time.

IMG_0627IMG_0620Marlise MUnoz Oppositiondead_pregnancy_protest_1200x675_114947651813

_______________________________________________________________________________

“It’s about a life,” Timm Hobbs of Denton told the Ft Worth Telegraph. “We are here to support that baby.”

Hobbs was there with his wife Renee and two young sons.
Timm Hobbs Ft Worth Telegraph1rclQM.St.58(Timm Hobbs with his family photo credit Ft Worth Telegraph)

Pro-lifers were led in the reading of scriptures on life by Sue Cyr. “We know that baby was created for many wonderful things,” Cyr begins, “Revelation 5 You are a Holy Awesome God….Lord, you have told us we are our brother’s keeper and that whatever we do for the least of Thee we do for you,” she continued.

IMG_0633

The atmosphere was prayerful as media made their way to the pro-lifers.

IMG_0643IMG_0646IMG_0644
_____________________________________________________

NARAL Pro-choice America has set up a petition they say is “for the Munoz family.” The family wants the 20 week pregnant mother disconnected from life support which would kill the baby. Pro-lifers oppose this move as it would kill the unborn child.

IMG_0683

Local Pro-lifer Carole Novielli responded, “What I find outrageous is that there is no written directive which spells out Marlise’s wishes. This woman has carried her child for 20 weeks, she obviously wanted this baby. Yet NARAL, who always claims to ‘protect women’ has decided to side with the woman’s husband in this case and to call for life support to be pulled. NARAL always sides with death and in this case it is the death of a woman and her child. When will the media call NARAL out on this hypocrisy? Regardless, Texas law clearly states that a pregnant woman must be kept alive in cases such as these.”

Novielli is interviewed in the news videos from WFAA below:

______________________________________________
IMG_0660( Rev. Stephen Broden Photo credit: Carole Novielli)

Pastor Stephen E. Broden of Fair Park Bible Fellowship and Founder of National Black Pro-Life Coalition led the vigil in support of Marlise and her baby.

IMG_0673

There is a baby, the baby is alive and has a heartbeat and it is growing,” Rev. Broden tells the crowd. “So we want to pray that God will move and soften the hearts of the Munoz family,” he said.
IMG_0676

____________________________________________

Being brain dead is not the affirmative biological definition of death,” Broden exclaims. “It is a created definition. It was created in 1960 by a group of doctors at Harvard,” Broden explains.

IMG_0671

The mother is nurturing that baby now, the baby is growing. Father we ask you that the child’s father would recognize that value and the dignity of that life and he would allow the baby to live. So we are praying now that there would be a softening of his heart and the grandparents that are involved and recognize that this is life. That they Father, would release their demand to have the ventilation removed, to pull the plug. But rather insist that they allow the baby to live.”

___________________________________________________________________

IMG_0634
The designation of “brain death” is a controversial one and presents moral and ethical issues, especially when the life of a baby is involved. There are many cases where babies have survived after the mothers have experienced similar situations to that of Marlise Munoz. There is a very strong possibility that Marlise’s baby could survive, given a little more time.

Here are some examples:

In 1982 a brain dead woman was put on life support for several days until her unborn child could be delivered.

Michele Odette Poole was delivered in 1985 after her mother was declared brain dead. Her father won a legal battle against the woman’s parents who had requested that life support be disconnected

In March of 1986, doctors successfully delivered a baby at the University of California’s Moffitt Hospital, whose mother was declared legally dead in January and was kept on life support to protect the child.

In November of 1991, Tracy Bucher gave birth to a baby boy after she was pronounced as brain dead. She was kept on life support for six weeks while her unborn child developed inside her.

In November of 1997, Lisa Nottingham was four months when she suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and was declared brain dead in August. She was kept alive by a machine until her baby could safely be delivered the following November.

Susan Anne Catherine Tores was born in September of 2005 after her mother was kept on life support for three months after being pronounced legally dead. Despite heroic efforts the child succumbed to a respiratory illness and died a few days later.

In June of 2006, a brain dead woman kept alive for more than two months gave birth to a baby girl. She was named Christine and her last name was withheld by the media.

IMG_0678

The Munoz family told Fox 4 in Dallas that when Marlise went down it was uncertain how long the baby was without oxygen. Erick Munoz said that is a concern for him.

Fox 4 News of the protests:

Is it possible that the real concern here for Marlise’s husband is the health of his unborn child rather than Marlise’s wishes which were never put in writing?” asked Novielli.

Renee Pic1014404_720833104616335_1418685574_n

IMG_0675

We must save this baby. It is a person, guaranteed protection under the Constitution,” Broden told the Ft Worth Telegraph.

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.