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Pregnant mom being kept on life support over husbandís objections due to Texas law
Life Site News ^ | Kirsten Andersen

Posted on 01/06/2014 10:12:25 PM PST by Morgana

HALTOM CITY, TX, January 6, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A North Texas woman and her unborn child are being kept on life support against her husband’s wishes thanks to a 1999 law signed by then-Governor George W. Bush that forbids hospitals from withdrawing extraordinary care from pregnant women before their babies are viable for delivery.

On Nov. 26, 33-year-old Marlise Munoz, who was 14-weeks pregnant at the time, collapsed at her home after getting out of bed to attend to her 1-year-old son. Her husband Erick, a paramedic, tried to revive her, but was unsuccessful. Marlise Munoz

Doctors at John Peter Smith Hospital determined she was in cardiac arrest. They were able to restart her heart, but she never regained consciousness and remains on a ventilator.

Because Marlise had never created a living will, Erick assumed it was up to him to decide whether to keep her on the ventilator or not. He claims that he and his wife – also a paramedic – had extensively discussed end-of-life care issues, due to their jobs bringing them into contact with so many families facing unexpected tragedies. He says Marlise would never have wanted a machine keeping her alive.

However, when Erick asked doctors at John Peter Smith Hospital to remove his wife from life support, he was surprised to learn that because the baby she is carrying is still alive, they are legally prevented from doing so.

The Texas Advanced Directives Act states that “a person may not withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment … from a pregnant patient.” The law applies even if the patient has signed a do-not-resuscitate order as part of a living will.

According to the law, Marlise must be kept on life support until her baby is developed enough to be viable outside the womb. At that point, the child can be delivered via cesarean section and Erick will be able to remove his wife from life support if that is what he wants.

But Erick and other family members say they are worried that the baby might have been deprived of oxygen while Marlise’s heart was stopped, or that the drugs the doctors administered while trying to revive her may have damaged the baby in some way.

“That poor fetus had the same lack of oxygen, the same electric shocks, the same chemicals that got her heart going again,” Marlise’s father, Ernest Machado, told the Dallas News. “For all we know, it’s in the same condition that Marlise is in.”

Doctors say they can’t tell how the baby’s development might have been affected Malise’s trauma until later in the pregnancy. Currently, Marlise is 19 weeks pregnant and the baby is said to have a normal heartbeat.

Dr. Paul Byrne, a neonatologist and professor of pediatrics at the University of Toledo told LifeSiteNews that it is unlikely the baby has been seriously harmed.

“The amount of oxygen a baby gets is much different than the amount of oxygen we get out here in the environment,” Byrne told LSN. He said the blood supply to the baby is venous blood, which has already had most of the oxygen consumed by the mother’s body anyway. “The baby’s body is used to living with a lower oxygen content. The baby is protected by the uterus more than the mother’s brain is protected, or the liver is protected, or the heart is protected [from lack of oxygen].”

Byrne also doubted the medications used to revive Marlise posed much of a threat to the baby, since the baby was already 14 weeks developed when she collapsed. “A baby has all of his or her parts by eight weeks after conception,” Byrne told LSN. “And so the susceptibility to medicines that could be toxic – and most of those that are used in resuscitation are not toxic – but even those that are toxic, the greater chance [of harm] is early in pregnancy, that’s when you have to be mostly concerned.”

Byrne also disagrees with those who argue the Texas law should not apply to Marlise because her alleged lack of brain activity (the family has claimed she is brain dead, but the hospital has not confirmed this, citing patient confidentiality) means she is “legally dead.”

“This mother has a beating heart, she has circulation, respiration. Her liver works, her kidneys work, her immune mechanisms work as well as any woman who is pregnant … all of these things are perfectly normal, and they would never happen in a cadaver,” Byrne told LSN.

Byrne said the longest lasting pregnancy he can recall after a woman was “declared” brain dead and put on life support was 103 days. In July, a Hungarian woman gave birth to a healthy infant after three months on life support following a stroke.

Said Byrne, “This mother is a living mother, and people ought to continue to take care of her. Her baby is a living baby, and that baby can be born.”


TOPICS: Health/Medicine
KEYWORDS: prolife; texas

1 posted on 01/06/2014 10:12:26 PM PST by Morgana
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To: Morgana
Dr. Paul Byrne,

Well, there's that name again...

What a shame for this young mother and her baby and family. I hope for a miracle.

2 posted on 01/06/2014 10:18:02 PM PST by Tired of Taxes
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To: Morgana

Gotta say, I’m on the side of the hospital on this one. Many would be surprised at how far the female body will go to protect a developing fetus. Only in the most severe extremity will the mother’s body act selfishly, and then it usually just spontaneously aborts. The mother’s oxygen deprivation might even have been exacerbated by the pregnancy, since her body may have attempted to maintain the fetus’ supply even to her own detriment.


3 posted on 01/06/2014 10:19:24 PM PST by Little Pig (Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici.)
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To: Morgana

Of course I agree with the Texas law... It should be the law in all 50 states.


4 posted on 01/06/2014 10:24:55 PM PST by babygene ( .)
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To: babygene
Of course I agree with the Texas law... It should be the law in all 50 states.

If I were this man I would do everything in my power to preserve this last gift of life his wife has given him.

There is something very odd about this story.

5 posted on 01/06/2014 10:39:05 PM PST by cpdiii (Deckhand, Roughneck, Mud Man, Geologist, Pilot, Pharmacist. THE CONSTITUTION IS WORTH DYING FOR!)
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To: cpdiii; ErnBatavia

my thoughts also, when i read the story.. whats his rush???


6 posted on 01/06/2014 10:59:47 PM PST by SortaBichy
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To: cpdiii

As a father of three (one with Downs Syndrome) I can say without hesitation that I would be by her side praying for her recovery and doing everything possible to see my baby alive.
To want to turn off the machines while she is pregnant with a live baby is beyond cruel.
What a selfish bastard.


7 posted on 01/06/2014 11:00:55 PM PST by Clump ( the tree of liberty is withering like a stricken fig tree)
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To: SortaBichy

Same thoughts here. Is it not really his baby?


8 posted on 01/06/2014 11:02:24 PM PST by ToastedHead
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To: cpdiii

bump


9 posted on 01/06/2014 11:03:49 PM PST by GeronL (Extra Large Cheesy Over-Stuffed Hobbit)
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To: Clump

I’ve seen this discussed on a number of threads, and you best capture my own inclinations. If the mother isn’t going to make it, the baby is her last gift to the world in this life, and will allow the mutual love of herself and her husband, such as it is, to endure. Your last four words are eloquent and apt.


10 posted on 01/06/2014 11:17:45 PM PST by Hieronymus ( (It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged. --G.K. Chesterton))
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To: Morgana

She collapsed at home after getting out of bed, and her husband tried to revive her, but as a licensed paramedic, he was still unable to do so? Why did a 33 year old collapse? That is interesting.

You know, they said the same thing about Terri Schaivo. She somehow suffered a severe lack of oxygen, after discussing with friends how she wanted a divorce because her husband was abusive. He, too, fought to pull the plug.

He was successful. Hoping this child makes it despite the vultures circling.


11 posted on 01/06/2014 11:34:58 PM PST by I still care (I miss my friends, bagels, and the NYC skyline - but not the taxes. I love the South.)
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To: Morgana

There is something very strange here with the husband’s request? I remember we went through this before with another husband.

I would think the husband would applaud every effort to keep his wife alive, especially to the point where the child could be born.

Something does not add up right here with this husband’s request?


12 posted on 01/06/2014 11:42:33 PM PST by rawhide
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To: cpdiii

Notice that he was the first paramedic to “help” her. Maybe I’m off, but there is something really peculiar about this all....


13 posted on 01/06/2014 11:58:39 PM PST by Politicalkiddo ("Suppose you were an idiot. Suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself." -Mark Twain)
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To: Hieronymus
Us mortals have very limited power, yet able to give the ultimate gift of life.
To destroy a baby willingly is horrendous.
14 posted on 01/07/2014 12:26:11 AM PST by MaxMax (Pay Attention and you'll be pissed off too! FIRE BOEHNER, NOW!)
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To: Little Pig
Your post is a complete lie. If you won't read the article, at least don't misrepresent it. From the article:

“The amount of oxygen a baby gets is much different than the amount of oxygen we get out here in the environment,” Byrne told LSN. He said the blood supply to the baby is venous blood, which has already had most of the oxygen consumed by the mother’s body anyway. “The baby’s body is used to living with a lower oxygen content. The baby is protected by the uterus more than the mother’s brain is protected, or the liver is protected, or the heart is protected [from lack of oxygen].”

In one paragraph this doctor contradicts everything you said. Go back to your fellow pro-aborts. You're all alike.

15 posted on 01/07/2014 1:07:24 AM PST by Steve1789
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To: Steve1789

Where did you get that I was pro-abort? I took the *hospital’s* position. The hospital is trying to save the baby; it’s the husband who wants to unplug the wife and by extension kill the baby. Yes, the baby gets less oxygen than the mother overall, but the mother’s body will do everything it can to preserve the fetus short of killing itself (and it’ll get damn close to that). In extremis, the baby’s oxygen supply is likely to take precedence over the mother’s. That paragraph not only doesn’t contradict any of my points, it *supports* everything I said.

If you won’t actually read my post, at least don’t misrepresent it.


16 posted on 01/07/2014 1:11:56 AM PST by Little Pig (Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici.)
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To: Steve1789

To clarify, the *only* mention I made of abortion is with reference to a spontaneous abortion by the mother’s body in the event of severe crisis i.e. utter starvation or massive trauma/injury. And, my mention was as a contrast, since whatever happened to this woman obviously does not fall into that category; in any other circumstance except as a last resort by the body to preserve itself, a woman’s body will do just about everything to ensure that the fetus it carries stays viable.


17 posted on 01/07/2014 1:16:06 AM PST by Little Pig (Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici.)
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To: Steve1789

And, to clarify further, my point (which you obviously missed) was that the hospital was right to keep the mother on life support, because there’s a very good chance that the baby is still ok.


18 posted on 01/07/2014 1:19:48 AM PST by Little Pig (Vi Veri Veniversum Vivus Vici.)
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To: cpdiii

I agree. Why would he want the child to die? /rhetorical


19 posted on 01/07/2014 2:20:25 AM PST by PghBaldy (12/14 - 930am -rampage begins... 12/15 - 1030am - Obama's advance team scouts photo-op locations.)
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To: I still care

Look up Dave Davis, Hillsdale, Michigan. He said his wife was riding a horse and fell off, striking her head on a rock. She died. Her parents never believed a word of it. A well known pathologist was able to determine the matabolites from a powerful drug that stopped the heart and lungs. The drug was undetectable because it broke down so quickly. Davis was arrested fleeing from America, and I believe he it serving life in prison in Michigan.

Didn’t Mr. Shiavo also work in the medical setting?


20 posted on 01/07/2014 2:42:37 AM PST by healy61
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To: Morgana

the whole family says she expressed her wishes to not be kept on life support. None of them deserve that baby when it is born.

I bet they never discussed if she would want to be kept alive to deliver a child if she was pregnant

I cannot imagine a woman who would not say “do everything to save the baby, then let me go”


21 posted on 01/07/2014 4:17:00 AM PST by silverleaf (Age takes a toll: Please have exact change)
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To: babygene; Morgana
I hope our Tennessee legislators are looking into child-protectiive bills similar to what they have in Texas.

Texas leads!

22 posted on 01/07/2014 4:38:58 AM PST by Mrs. Don-o ("They help each other and say to their companions, 'Be strong!' " ¬ó Isaiah 41:6)
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To: Morgana
What a sick, selfish bunch of people she had in her husband and family.

I really do not understand people nor do I want to.

23 posted on 01/07/2014 6:08:53 AM PST by Lady Heron
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To: Politicalkiddo

Seriously, would any sane person want this paramedic on the scene of their life threatening situation?

For a person trained to save lives, this situation seems very odd....


24 posted on 01/07/2014 7:17:04 AM PST by Ms Mable
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