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A Brain Dead Fort Worth Woman Is Forced To Stay On Life Support Because Of Texas Law

Photo by Ian Waldie/Getty Images

Over the weekend I heard about a story that blew my mind.  A woman in Fort Worth, Texas was pronounced brain dead, but there is a twist.  She was also pregnant and now she is being forced to stay on life support until the baby is born.

Back in November, Marlise Munoz, 33 of Fort Worth, collapsed on the kitchen floor.  Her family was in a panic trying to get her help.  When they finally got her to the hospital, they were told that she had suffered from a blood clot in her lungs and was left brain dead.

While her family was devastated they knew that their daughter would not want to live that way, so they made the decision to take her off life support.  But it wouldn’t be that simple.  Marlise was 14 weeks pregnant and in the state of Texas, it is strictly prohibited from cutting off life support from a pregnant patient.  Yes, there is a law that says this.

Her parents were furious!  Her mom, Lynne Machado, said :

“It’s not a matter of pro-choice and pro-life, it’s about a matter of our daughter’s wishes not being honored by the state of Texas.”

Her father, Ernest Machado, wasn’t quite as nice about it saying:

“All she is is a host for a fetus. I get angry with the state. What business did they have delving into these areas? Why are they practicing medicine up in Austin?”

Although, I am sure that her parents love her and want to honor her wishes, calling her a ‘host for a fetus’ is kind of harsh.

The hospital is maintaining that they are obeying the law and that their medical team is devoted to monitoring the baby.  But some think they are misinterpreting the law.  Texas is one of the 31 states that have adopted laws restricting doctors to end life support for terminally ill pregnant women, regardless of the wishes of the patient or the family.

This is a tough topic.  On one hand I agree with her parents that if she didn’t want to stay on life support she shouldn’t be forced to.  But, what about the baby in question.  Would their daughter want them to kill her unborn baby if there is a chance it could be saved?

As a mom, if I was in that situation, I would want my family to save my baby.  My son is my world and if I knew that my family prevented him from coming into this world I would be devastated.  Who knows, this baby could be a future president of the US or some other inspiring person.  I guess it all comes down to the family.  Just like abortion.  Each person has their own decision to make.

Marlise has been in the hospital over a month now and is about 20 weeks.  Her due date is mid-May.  Doctors are waiting until she is about 22-24 weeks to decide if the baby is healthy enough to survive and be problem free.  Until then, the family has no choice but to endure seeing their daughter on life support.

What do you think should happen?  Should the hospital keep Marlise on life support until the baby is born or should the law be over turned?

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