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Texas man asks to have pregnant wife removed from life support

Source: Reuters - Tue, 24 Dec 2013 12:18 AM
Author: Reuters
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AUSTIN, Texas, Dec 23 (Reuters) - A Texas man is seeking to have his pregnant wife removed from life support and may try to obtain a court injunction against a state law requiring her to be kept alive because she is with child, reports said.

Marlise Munoz was admitted to a hospital in Fort Worth on Nov. 26 after suffering what her husband believes was a pulmonary embolism. She has been on a ventilator since then.

Her husband Erick wants her to be removed from life support, saying that he and his wife are both paramedics in the Fort Worth area and discussed what they wanted to do in such a situation.

"We both knew that we didn't want to be on life support," he told Dallas broadcaster WFAA.

He found his wife unconscious on the kitchen floor when she was 14 weeks pregnant and is worried the fetus may have been injured by a blood clot that cut off the flow of oxygen and nutrients in Marlise's body, he told WFAA.

"We've reached a point where you wish that your wife's body will stop," he said.

Marlise is now about 18 weeks pregnant and tests have shown the fetus has a normal heart beat, WFAA said.

Under Texas state law, a person may not withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment from a pregnant patient, even if there is a "do not resuscitate" request from the patient or the family of the patient seeks to end life support.

"The hospital is following the law," J.R. Labbe, a spokeswoman for the John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, told Reuters.

Erick was not immediately available for comment.

In July, Texas Governor Rick Perry signed into law tough new restrictions on abortion, including a ban after 20 weeks of pregnancy, marking one of the biggest victories in a decade for opponents of the procedure in the United States. (Reporting by Jon Herskovitz, editing by G Crosse)

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