Hearing Friday for Family of Pregnant, Brain Dead Woman

A hearing to determine whether a pregnant, brain dead Tarrant County woman can be removed from life support will be heard Friday.

Marlise Munoz has been on life support since being found unconscious Nov. 26 by her husband Erick. The family said they don't know why she lost consciousness, though a blood clot remains a possibility.

Marlise and Erick are both paramedics who agreed they did not want life support should a situation such as this arise. Marlise Munoz's parents agree and the family has requested that she be removed from life support, despite the pregnancy.

When she was found, Marlise was 14 weeks pregnant. Since Marlise is believed to have been without oxygen for some time before being found by her husband, the condition of the fetus is not known. Doctors have told Erick Munoz that they are monitoring the fetus, but Munoz has said he's uncertain about how healthy the fetus will be given his wife's condition and the time spent without oxygen.

John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth said Texas law prevents them from withdrawing life-sustaining treatment and following a family directive when a pregnancy is involved. 

The family filed the lawsuit to pull her off life support Jan. 14.  On Friday, State District Judge Melody Wilkinson recused herself from the lawsuit without explanation.

The Motion to Compel, if granted, would instruct John Peter Smith Hospital to remove Marlise Munoz from life-support. The motion will be heard at 3:15 p.m. Friday before the 96th District Court of Tarrant County.

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