Hopefully this will allow the family to begin their grieving process.
A woman named Marlise Munoz passed out at her home near Fort Worth, Texas on Nov. 26 and was found by her husband Erick. She was unresponsive. She did finally make it to the hospital, but one doctor believed she had been without oxygen for at least an hour.
Much to the family's dismay, the John Peter Smith Hospital in Forth Worth put Marlise on life support despite Marlise's wishes for something like that to never occur. Part of the problem was a law that says hospitals must keep pregnant patients on life support.
Which made no sense to the family who knew, without a doubt, that Marlise was dead.
They were distressed, but not altogether shocked, when they heard this news about the 21-week-old fetus inside Marlise's body. All of which is explained in this statement:
"We are in receipt of medical records providing more specific information regarding the condition of the fetus. According to the medical records we have been provided, the fetus is distinctly abnormal. Even at this early stage, the lower extremities are deformed to the extent that the gender cannot be determined. The fetus suffers from hydrocephalus [also known as "water on the brain"]. It also appears that there are further abnormalities, including a possible heart problem, that cannot be specifically determined due to the immobile nature of Mrs. Munoz's deceased body."
Which is why it was such a relief when Judge R.H. Wallace ordered the hospital in charge of Marlise's body to shut down their life support for her by Monday at 5:00 pm.
Although the hospital could, possibly, appeal the court's decision - such an act would be against their family's wishes who want to bury their loved one.
The breakthrough court action happened when the two opposing parties, the hospital and the Munoz family, agreed that Marlise had "met the clinical criteria for brain death since November 28" and that "the fetus gestating inside Mrs. Munoz is not viable".
We'll see soon enough if the hospital follows the court's orders, or fights against them.