Texas Hospital Removes Pregnant Woman From Life Support

Marlise Munoz (Family photo)

FORT WORTH (January 26, 2014) John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth removed a brain dead pregnant woman from life support Sunday, following a judge’s ruling Friday that set a deadline of 5 p.m. Monday for doing that.

A statement sent by lawyers for the husband of Marlise Munoz on Sunday afternoon says she was disconnected from life support at around 11:30 a.m.

Her body was released to her husband, Erick Munoz, and that the family is now looking to lay her to rest, the statement said.

Hospital spokesman J.R. Labbe said in a statement earlier Sunday John Peter Smith “will follow the court order" issued Friday.

The hospital says in the statement that it saw its role as "not to make nor contest law but to follow it."

Judge R.H. Wallace gave the Fort Worth hospital until Monday at 5 p.m. to comply with his ruling to remove Marlise Munoz from life support, which her husband said she would have wanted.

She was 14 weeks pregnant when her husband found her unconscious Nov. 26, possibly as the result of a blood clot.

Erick Munoz said he and his wife, who are paramedics, were clear that they didn't want life support in this type of situation.

His attorney argued that keeping the woman alive would set a dangerous precedent.

But John Peter Smith Hospital argued that it had to protect the life of the unborn child.

Munoz's attorneys said in a statement last week that the fetus that Marlise Munoz is carrying has several "abnormalities," including a deformation of the lower body parts that make it impossible to determine its gender.

Attorneys Heather King and Jessica Hall Janicek said they based their statement on medical records received from the hospital.

The case has drawn national attention.