Brain Dead Pregnant Woman's Fetus Is 'Abnormal' Yet Hospital Still Won't Let Them Go

The outrageous case of the brain dead pregnant woman in Texas who continues to be kept on life support despite the protests of her husband and family has taken another tragic turn. Lawyers representing Erick Munoz, who is fighting to have his brain dead wife, Marlise, taken off life support even though she is now 22 weeks pregnant, say that the fetus is -- reportedly according to the hospital's own records -- "distinctly abnormal" and has so many lower extremity deformities that no one can even tell what sex the fetus is.

Pregnant Marlise Munoz, who already had a young child, suffered a pulmonary embolism when she was about 14 weeks pregnant. She lay on the floor for at least an hour with no oxygen until she was discovered by her husband and rushed to the hospital. But it was too late. Marlise was tragically declared brain dead.

Since Erick and Marlise were EMTs who had formerly discussed end-of-life care, Erick knew that Marlise's wishes were not to be kept alive by artificial means in case of such a severe happenstance. It's unclear if they discussed this again after Marlise became pregnant. Since she was only pregnant for 14 weeks and probably not thinking of dying, maybe not. Either way, Erick says he knows what her wishes would have been and wanted Marlise to go peacefully.

However, the Forth Worth, Texas hospital where Marlise has been has refused because of a Texas law that says if a fetus is involved, a woman's life can't be terminated. Reportedly, several experts have said that the hospital is misinterpreting the law -- but the hospital has stuck to its guns. In a way, you can't blame them. They probably don't want the government coming after them.

Many have sympathized with Erick -- but many have also condemned him, asking how a husband couldn't want his unborn child to be given a chance. But now it seems fairly clear -- at least given this report -- that the viability of the fetus is in major doubt.

Attorneys for Erick said that the fetus, on top of the deformities, also has fluid inside of the skull as well as a heart problem.

The attorneys said:

Quite sadly, this information is not surprising due to the fact that the fetus, after being deprived of oxygen for an indeterminate length of time, is gestating within a dead and deteriorating body, as a horrified family looks on in absolute anguish, distress, and sadness.

While there is still some chance that this fetus might develop into a baby that is viable outside the womb, it sounds increasingly unlikely that the baby would have any kind of a normal life. It's heartbreaking and unfair that the family has to go through this, all because the state has decided it knows what is better for Marlise and Erick than they do.

Hopefully this issue will be cleared up in the courts so that no other family in Texas has to go through this.

What would you do if this was your relative?

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nonmember avatar Bety

Thank God the baby is alive! Can't that man be grateful for anything? He will have a beautiful baby soon, isn't that something to celebrate?

Amanda Davis

Not really when they clearly say the baby will have no kind of normal life!!!


nonmember avatar Ashton

They just said it was deformed and may not live. If it does live will probably have serious issues. Issues the da has already said he is not ready or equipped to deal with. They should have just let nature takes it course and let the man bury his wife and unborn child when it was still a fetus. He will now have to go through 2 devastating losses. They will make him go trough the greif of seeing his child in that state and havig to bury it . That poor man and his child that is living should not have to see his wife / and mother or child/ sibling like that!!!

middl... middleroad

This is so wrong on every level.  There's your value as human beings ladies:  an incubator.  That is all.

Rando... Randomlady

A child that will be in and out of the hospital and probably not even know what is going on around it doesn't sound like something to be terribly proud about. He will also be taking care of this child who will need around the clock care by himself. Sounds like the wrong move for everyone involved in it.

Lucki... Luckicharmz

No there is nothing beautiful here, the child if it is as described is going to suffer horrendously and probably die. How could you wish that pain and suffering on anyone!?

If not dead it will be permanently disabled and need hundreds of thousands in medical care that I guarantee you the state of Texas will NOT pay for. They will force this mans dead wife to have the child then go :"NOT OUR KID NOT OUR PROBLEM!"

Jacee... Jacee2348

I can understand the hospital's stance; there wasn't any room for their interpretation, the law was clearly stated.  They could have faced very harsh and severe penalties for not following through to the letter of the law.  I also was very much in agreement with keeping the lady "alive" to at least try to ascertain the health and well-being of the fetus to see if it was viable.  I would have wished to be kept alive to give my baby a chance, but that is just me, and just my opinion.  This is a tough, heart-breaking story no matter how our opinions may vary.  And just to be clear, there are several states that have this type of law, not just Texas.  Maybe a long look will be taken in each of the states that carry this law or some variation - I'm sure nobody thought of each and every scenario that could occur.  Very sad all the way around........

nonmember avatar SickOfHearingIt

bety, there is nothing to be grateful for here. The husband and the parents of this poor woman what her to die peacefully and cannot grieve while the state of Texas has her acting as an incubator for a dying child. There is nothing to celebrate here. Did you actually READ the article??

Kattey Kattey

See, this breaks my heart. There shouldn't be such a law, and even the people who drafted the law said it wasn't meant to be used on brain-dead women, but only those in a coma or vegetative state (not that that's any better). 

Can we let this woman and baby go with peace yet, instead of dragging out the baby's suffering so that the pro-birth zealots can cling to their "moral superiority"? Dragging this out doesn't benefit anyone.

BPayne09 BPayne09

I am very pro life but in situations like this it should come down to more than morals and laws. If the baby was growing into a healthy baby I'd probably feel different but who is it helping to let this continue? The wife is brain dead and it sounds like the baby doesn't stand a chance once born if it even makes it that long. I feel so sorry for the husband not only dealing with the situation with his wife but also his unborn child.

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