Doctors Keeping Pregnant Woman On Life Support Against Husband’s Wishes
A Texas paramedic has made the difficult decision to request that his pregnant wife be taken off of life support, but doctors are refusing his wishes in the interest of the couple’s unborn child.
via ABC News
Erick and Marlise Munoz, both paramedics in Tarrant County, Texas, had talked a lot about end-of-life decisions, including the importance of do-not-resuscitate orders. So when doctors put her on life support after suffering a suspected pulmonary embolism last month, her husband says, he knew her wishes.
Marlise, 33, had lost a brother years before and told her husband she never wanted to be kept alive by machines, he says.
But Marlise is pregnant, and Texas state law puts the rights of a fetus over the wishes of its mother. The baby Marlise is carrying is now closer to 18 weeks, but Munoz says doctors have no idea what effects the oxygen deprivation Marlise has suffered will have if the baby is delivered.
“It’s hard to reach the point where you wish your wife’s body would stop,” Munoz, also in his 30s, told ABC News’ Dallas-Fort Worth affiliate WFAA-TV.
“They don’t know how long the baby was without nutrients and oxygen,” he said. “But I’m aware what challenges I might face ahead.”
Marlise, who with her husband has a 1-year-old son, has been on life support at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth since Nov. 26, when Munoz found her collapsed on the living room floor. He performed CPR and then called 911. She never regained consciousness and her husband says she is now “simply a shell.”
But the fetus still has a normal heartbeat.
What a sad situation. Do you think the doctors should honor the husband’s wishes since he says it’s what his wife wanted or should they keep her alive to try and save the baby?