A man who wants his pregnant wife taken off life support may finally get his way. Erick Munoz of Fort Worth, Texas, was distraught when his pregnant wife suffered a pulmonary embolism and collapsed while pregnant with their second child. Doctors have pronounced her brain dead, but the hospital refuses to take her life support -- which is what Erick says his wife, a former paramedic, would have wanted -- because Texas law probits ending a life if there is a potentially viable fetus involved. Erick's wife, Marlise, is now 20 weeks pregnant. And he and Marlise's mother are suing the hospital to have her taken off the machines keeping her and her baby alive.
Erick found Marlise collapsed on their kitchen floor when she was 14 weeks pregnant. Doctors believe she suffered a blood clot. She had been without oxygen on the floor for at least an hour. Erick knew that Marlise never wanted to be kept on a ventilator because he says they had discussed that before, both of them having seen things "out in the field" in their jobs as paramedics. They had also seen a relative die after being on machines and didn't want the same for themselves.
She has now been declared clinically brain dead, yet the hospital will not take her off life support because of the Texas law, which says that if a fetus is involved, life support can't be taken away. Right now, the hospital plans to keep Marlise on life support until she miscarries or she reaches 24 weeks, at which point the hospital can start labor, do a C-section, or see if she can carry the baby full term.
Reportedly, the baby so far still has a normal heartbeat, but doctors have no idea how much damage the baby may have suffered. Erick told ABC News:
They don't know how long the baby was without nutrients and oxygen. But I'm aware what challenges I might face ahead.