FORT WORTH — Life support was removed from a pregnant brain-dead Texas woman shortly before noon Sunday after John Peter Smith Hospital said it would not appeal a state district judge’s ruling to remove life-sustaining measures.

FORT WORTH — Life support was removed from a pregnant brain-dead Texas woman shortly before noon Sunday after John Peter Smith Hospital said it would not appeal a state district judge’s ruling to remove life-sustaining measures.


Marlise Munoz, 33, was 14 weeks pregnant when she arrived at the hospital after suffering an embolism. State District Judge R.H. Wallace ruled on Friday that she should be taken off life support after county-owned hospital refused to do so.


Wallace said he agreed with attorneys for the Munoz family that a 1999 state law requiring pregnant women to be kept on life support does not apply to Munoz because she is brain dead.


The Tarrant County district attorney’s office argued at the hearing Friday that it must balance the interests of the state to protect an unborn child against the wishes of the Munoz family to end life support.


Attorneys for the Munoz family released a statement saying that medical records indicate the fetus is "distinctly abnormal," with lower extremities deformed, and suffers from a number of other serious health conditions, including water on the brain and heart problems.


Munoz has been hospitalized since just before Thanksgiving. Her husband, Erick Munoz, found her lying on the kitchen floor.


When he was told at the hospital that his wife was brain dead, he requested that life support be removed. He said he and his wife had discussed what to do in such a situation.


The hospital declined, citing a Texas law that requires a pregnant woman to be kept on life support until the fetus is viable, usually at 24 to 26 weeks.


Marlise Munoz’s pregnancy was about to enter its 23rd week.


Erick Munoz sued the hospital. His attorneys argued that it failed to recognize that Marlise Munoz was not a pregnant patient but a clinically dead person.


The hospital acknowledged as much in court documents.


©2014 Fort Worth Star-Telegram