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Brain-Dead, Pregnant Woman Off Life Support
A Texas hospital has removed life support from a brain-dead, pregnant woman, ending a months-long legal battle with her family.
Officials from John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth were ordered by a judge to end care for Marlise Munoz by 5pm on Monday.
Lawyers representing her husband, Erick Munoz, said his wife was disconnected from life support at 11.30am on Sunday.
Mrs Munoz was 14 weeks pregnant when her husband found her unconscious on November 26, possibly due to a blood clot.
Both doctors and family agreed that Mrs Munoz met the criteria to be considered brain-dead, but the hospital continued to treat her over the objections of her husband and parents.
Hospital officials cited the Texas Advance Directives Act, which prohibits withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment from a pregnant patient.
A judge, however, ruled in favour of Mrs Munoz's family on Friday, saying the hospital was misapplying the law because the patient was legally dead.
Her case raised questions about end-of-life care and whether a pregnant woman who is considered legally and medically dead should be kept on life support for the sake of a foetus.
The case also garnered attention on both sides of the abortion debate, with anti-abortion groups arguing Mrs Munoz's foetus deserved a chance to be born.
Mr Munoz argued his wife would not have wanted to be kept in her condition, and his attorneys said medical records show the foetus was "distinctly abnormal".
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