Although Erick Munoz has sought to honor his wife Marlise’s wishes that she not be kept alive by machines, Texas law has forbidden him to have her taken off life-support until the fetus she is carrying comes to term.
The fetus is now 18 weeks old and they would have to wait until it is between 24-28 weeks before it would be viable enough to attempt delivery via C-section.
Marlise Munoz, 33, was found unconscious on her livingroom floor after suffering from a pulmonary embolism on November 26th, and although her husband, a paramedic in Tarrant County, performed CPR on her before calling 911, she never came out of her coma, and has been on life support at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth ever since.
Yet, while he claims his wife is “nothing more than a shell,” the fetus’s heartbeat has remained normal, and thus holds precedence over the rights of the mother under the law which specifically states that, "A person may not withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment from a pregnant patient," even if she had previously signed a do not resuscitate (DNR) form.
"It's hard to reach the point where you wish your wife's body would stop," Munoz, also in his 30s, told ABC News' Dallas-Fort Worth affiliate WFAA-TV. "They don't know how long the baby was without nutrients and oxygen, and whether it has suffered any brain-damage as a result," he said. "But I'm aware what challenges I might face ahead."
Although Munoz does not agree with the law, he knows that it would be practically impossible to find a judge in his state that would be willing to grant and injunction in his favor, and does not “ want to wage a long battle over the issue,” that probably will last longer than the remaining before the caesarian section could be performed.