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Old Dec 23, 2013, 10:33 AM   #1
rdowns
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Husband Wants Pregnant Wife Off Life Support

The state forcing life support for a non-viable fetus that will likely have severe health issues.


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Erick is talking about the moment he saw his wife, Marlise, unconscious on the living room floor at around 2 a.m. Nov. 26. As a paramedic, Erick rushed in to do CPR and later called 911.

Marlise Munoz, who was 14 weeks pregnant at the time, was taken to JPS in Fort Worth. Family members say doctors suspected she suffered a pulmonary embolism, but didn't know with complete certainty.

"You just never think it's going to be you," Erick said.

Marlise has been on life support since that day in November. Erick tells News 8 she has not regained consciousness and is "simply a shell." Tests are done daily on the fetus, and results show a normal heart beat.

Both Marlise and Erick are paramedics in the Tarrant County area, and both have had serious conversations about what to do if the worst happens. Marlise's mother told News 8 that conversation started when Marlise lost her brother tragically four years ago.

"We knew what her wishes were," Erick said. His wife told him she never wanted to be kept alive by machine.

Marlise was taken to the emergency room at JPS in the early morning of Nov. 26. Later in the day, the family was informed by doctors that they would provide any life-saving measures because she was pregnant. The family was told the hospital was taking that measure because of state law in Texas' Health and Safety Code.

"Section 166.049 Pregnant Patients. A person may not withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment under this subchapter from a pregnant patient," the code reads.

Quote:
Erick said the testing of the fetus is so limited it's hard to tell if the fetus is viable. He said he does not expect a lot of people to side with him on this.

He also said he doesn't want to get into a long, drawn-out fight over pro-life and pro-choice.

"They don't know how long the baby was without nutrients and oxygen," Erick said. "But I'm aware what challenges I might face ahead."

The next series of tests of the fetus will be at 24 weeks, which is mid-February. Family members tell News 8 doctors may know then when the fetus can be removed.

Erick said doctors have even discussed taking the fetus to full term.
http://www.wfaa.com/news/local/With-...236654371.html
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Old Dec 23, 2013, 10:42 AM   #2
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I'm as pro-choice as they come.

However.

I see nothing wrong with maintaining life support if it means the baby can survive with a reasonable chance of being healthy.

That's what [I speculate] I would do.
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Old Dec 23, 2013, 10:47 AM   #3
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I can't pick a side in this one. I am pro-life in most cases, but there are a couple of factors here. One this father is going to be without his wife/mother of this child. Leaving him with the options of raising it alone, or giving it up for adoption. Two this woman is going to have to be kept on a machine for the next 24 weeks just to keep a child/fetus alive for someone who doesn't seem interested in keeping it?

Hope I am never put in this situation, or have to make this type of decision for someone else.
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Old Dec 23, 2013, 10:51 AM   #4
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Wow, thats a tough one.

I can't imagine the husbands position. Lose both wife & child, or use his wife's body as a machine in the hopes that the child will make it. Either way some serious emotional and mental scarring is going to occur here.

Jeeze.
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Old Dec 23, 2013, 10:59 AM   #5
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If I were to walk a mile in his shoes (I hope I'd never have to) I want to try to keep the baby if possible.
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Old Dec 23, 2013, 11:01 AM   #6
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If I were to walk a mile in his shoes (I hope I'd never have to) I want to try to keep the baby if possible.
As a father of two awesome children I can see that point, but it would be really hard without my wife.
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Old Dec 23, 2013, 11:07 AM   #7
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I would do everything down to my last dollar to preserve that baby's life, especially at 14 weeks progress and counting.

If it was under 8 weeks I could see considering this action, but for me the pregnancy is too far along to end.
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Old Dec 23, 2013, 11:13 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by TheAppleFairy View Post
As a father of two awesome children I can see that point, but it would be really hard without my wife.
I don't know if I could recover from the 1/2 punch of the loss of my wife and child though.
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Old Dec 23, 2013, 11:27 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by MyMac1976 View Post
I don't know if I could recover from the 1/2 punch of the loss of my wife and child though.
I understand, it wouldn't be easy either way. Someone would consider that child their miracle baby and another would mourn their dead wife every time they look at the kid.
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Old Dec 23, 2013, 11:29 AM   #10
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Keep in mind guys that he has to see his wife's body for the remainder of the pregnancy, and not only see it as a lifeless body, but as a biological machine growing his baby. This is just an awful situation all around.
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Old Dec 23, 2013, 11:37 AM   #11
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I'm Pro-choice but if the intent was to have the baby, then that plan should proceed (to have it) although I would not dictate that. Father and Doctor's choice, imo. However, if the Mom expressed the desire not to be kept alive on life support, she was probably not thinking of this circumstance. This is a temporary situation in consideration of the fetus, the caveat is that it is healthy. If I was to guess, I'd bet the Mom would be good with keeping her alive to allow her baby to have a life.
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Old Dec 23, 2013, 11:45 AM   #12
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My opinion is if the baby wasn't severely harmed when the woman was unconscious, they should let it come to term. But, if the baby is going to live a horrible quality of life due to brain damage, then they should pull the plug.
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Old Dec 23, 2013, 12:21 PM   #13
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Why is the state even involved in this? This should be a private medical decision for this man and his family.

More unnecessary and ridiculous government overreach in a supposedly "free" country.
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Old Dec 23, 2013, 12:25 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by citizenzen View Post
I'm as pro-choice as they come.

However.

I see nothing wrong with maintaining life support if it means the baby can survive with a reasonable chance of being healthy.

That's what [I speculate] I would do.
Who decides what 'reasonable' is? You, the doctors or the state?
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Old Dec 23, 2013, 12:27 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Jesla View Post
Who decides what 'reasonable' is? You, the doctors or the state?
When it comes to the health of the baby, I wouldn't count on myself or the state to be a good judge of that.

For that assessment, I'd rely on the doctors.
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Old Dec 23, 2013, 12:29 PM   #16
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This is all a it odd. I feel desperately sorry for the family and Mr Munoz and his wife's wishes appear to have been bypassed entirely.
  • The lack of a firm diagnosis for the mother is strange. A CTPA is ok in pregnancy and would show a massive PE (which, to cause a coma, this would surely be).
  • The fact she has had a massive event resulting in a coma to her (with likely prolonged cerebral hypoxia) means that the foetus is extremely likely to have gone through a similar process and is extremely likely to have sufferred a significant hypoxic episode too resulting in significant disability.
  • The Texan law not allowing this gentleman to follow his wife's wishes seems deliberately obstructive to the family wishes (other articles about the case note a DNACPR would also not allow Mr Munoz to allow his wife to die).
  • The "only at 24 weeks can we assess the baby" seems very arbitrary and I am suspicious that assessing so late is an attempt to prevent any chance for Mrs Munoz to die.
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Old Dec 23, 2013, 12:33 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by citizenzen View Post
When it comes to the health of the baby, I wouldn't count on myself or the state to be a good judge of that.

For that assessment, I'd rely on the doctors.
....but aren't the doctors working within some sort of state guidelines/rules?
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Old Dec 23, 2013, 12:34 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesla View Post
....but aren't the doctors working within some sort of state guidelines/rules?
If they are, then that's fine.

I have nothing against doctors following state guidelines.
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Old Dec 23, 2013, 12:37 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdowns View Post
The state forcing life support for a non-viable fetus that will likely have severe health issues.
Did you read the article you posted? Where does it say that it isn't viable? This is what I saw in there.

Quote:
Erick said the testing of the fetus is so limited it's hard to tell if the fetus is viable.
Before I read the article I would have sided with you. If the fetus isn't viable then they should take her off of life support as that is what her husband wants and she isn't likely to come back. However if the fetus is going to be viable then they should try to save it especially considering she was planning of going through with the pregnancy beforehand. As it is they should keep her on life support until they can find out if it is viable or not, and then make the decision based on that.

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by citizenzen View Post
If they are, then that's fine.

I have nothing against doctors following state guidelines.
They are following state guidelines.
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Old Dec 23, 2013, 12:40 PM   #20
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They are following state guidelines.
I like it when people follow state guidelines.

It's very ... lawful.
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Old Dec 23, 2013, 01:16 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrkramer View Post
Did you read the article you posted? Where does it say that it isn't viable? This is what I saw in there.
Yes, I read several before I posted. The fetus was 14 weeks when the mother had the embolism. A 14 week old fetus is not viable.
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Old Dec 23, 2013, 01:16 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by zioxide View Post
Why is the state even involved in this? This should be a private medical decision for this man and his family.

More unnecessary and ridiculous government overreach in a supposedly "free" country.
This is an important question that I suspect has few good answers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MOFS View Post
This is all a it odd. I feel desperately sorry for the family and Mr Munoz and his wife's wishes appear to have been bypassed entirely.
  • The lack of a firm diagnosis for the mother is strange. A CTPA is ok in pregnancy and would show a massive PE (which, to cause a coma, this would surely be).
  • The fact she has had a massive event resulting in a coma to her (with likely prolonged cerebral hypoxia) means that the foetus is extremely likely to have gone through a similar process and is extremely likely to have sufferred a significant hypoxic episode too resulting in significant disability.
  • The Texan law not allowing this gentleman to follow his wife's wishes seems deliberately obstructive to the family wishes (other articles about the case note a DNACPR would also not allow Mr Munoz to allow his wife to die).
  • The "only at 24 weeks can we assess the baby" seems very arbitrary and I am suspicious that assessing so late is an attempt to prevent any chance for Mrs Munoz to die.
Thanks for this post. I agree.
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Old Dec 23, 2013, 01:22 PM   #23
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They don't even know if the baby will be healthy, so why put everyone through that pain. Everyone will suffer no matter what the outcome.
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Old Dec 23, 2013, 03:05 PM   #24
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They don't even know if the baby will be healthy, so why put everyone through that pain. Everyone will suffer no matter what the outcome.
The point is they don't know. So why are you assuming there will be pain no matter what the outcome?

----------

Would it really be the will of the mother to take her off life support in this situation? If it is a wanted pregnancy, I can't imagine many a mother that would not have all steps taken to try and save the baby. That being said, I can't even imagine being in this situation as the father. I would think I would do anything to try and save my unborn child but having to artificially keep my wife alive for so long would be beyond difficult and hard to fathom.
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Old Dec 23, 2013, 03:15 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by MacNut View Post
They don't even know if the baby will be healthy, so why put everyone through that pain. Everyone will suffer no matter what the outcome.
My understanding there are tests which will give them a good idea on the condition of the fetus.
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