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Texas hospital keeps pregnant woman on life support against family’s wishes

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 14 January 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g225
  1. Michael McCarthy
  1. 1Seattle

A Texas hospital is keeping a pregnant woman, Marlise Muñoz, on life support despite her family’s pleas that she be taken off the ventilator.

The patient’s husband and parents say that she is brain dead and would not have wanted to be kept on life support. But under Texas state law the hospital can ignore their wishes because Muñoz is pregnant.

Muñoz, an emergency medical technician, was admitted to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, on 26 November 2013, after she collapsed at home. At the time the 33 year old mother of one was 14 weeks pregnant.

Press reports said that her husband, Erick Muñoz, who is also an emergency medical technician, found her without a pulse, called for an ambulance, and began cardiopulmonary resuscitation. She was transported to John Peter Smith Hospital, where she was put on life support.

“We were both paramedics, we’ve seen things out in the field, and we both knew we didn’t want to be put on life support,” her husband said in a television interview.

Mr Muñoz …

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