Health Law

Husband sues hospital to force it to take his brain-dead, pregnant wife off life support


A Texas paramedic has sued a Fort Worth hospital in an effort to get a court order requiring it to remove the body of his pregnant wife from life support.

Marlise Munoz, who also is a paramedic, was found unconscious Nov. 26. Her husband, Erick Munoz, says in the suit that he was told she is brain-dead, according to the Associated Press and Reuters.

He and other family members reportedly have said that Marlise Munoz would not have wanted to be on life support under these circumstances.

John Peter Smith Hospital has cited a state law concerning medical directives that says pregnant patients and their representatives cannot refuse “life-sustaining” treatment. However, Munoz says in the suit that the law does not apply to dead bodies and, if it does, it should be struck down as unconstitutional.

“The courts are the appropriate venue to provide clarity, direction and resolution in this matter,” the hospital said in a written statement provided to Reuters. “JPS remains focused on providing compassionate care to all patients while also following the law as it applies to healthcare in the state of Texas.”

The Dallas Observer links to a copy of the Tarrant County complaint.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “Hospital refuses to take patient off life support, despite family wishes, because she is pregnant”

Dallas Morning News: “Texas laws unclear in case of pregnant Fort Worth woman kept on life support”

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