Marlise Munoz, 33, was put on life support after suffering what is believed to be a pulmonary embolism in late November. She and her husband, Erick, had discussed end-of-life decisions many times before. He is convinced that, although they had not signed do-not-resuscitate orders, she would not want to be on life support.1
What is preventing the doctors from removing life supports systems is the part of a Texas law which prohibits it in case of pregnancy. While the ABC News article phrased it as “Texas state law puts the right of a fetus over the wishes of its mother,” that is a clever misstatement. What the Texas law does is recognize the equal right-to-life of both humans involved.
The ABC article also reported, “Art L. Caplan, director of the medical ethics division at NYU’s Langone Medical Center, said that 18 weeks, the fetus is not viable, but could be kept alive and delivered by cesarean at 24 to 28 weeks.”
Fox News ran this story today including some statements from Bobby Schindler.2 He said it best when he commented that he couldn’t imagine a mother wanting her child to die… That also raises a lot of questions beyond this situation.
1 – from “Husband Wants Pregnant Wife Off Life Support,” Susan Donaldson James, 12/23/2013, www.abcnews.go.com
2 – He is the brother of the late Terry Schiavo, who “suffered brain damage after a heart attack, was at the center of a years-long right-to-die struggle that ended in 2005 when her husband removed her feeding tube over objections from her parents.” From www.foxnews.com, 1/2/2014