New York University

Pregnant and dead in Texas: A bad law, badly interpreted

Pregnant and dead in Texas: A bad law, badly interpreted

Marlise Munoz is dead. Yet her body is in a hospital intensive care unit, maintained on a ventilator. Why?

The 33-year-old paramedic and mother of one from Fort Worth, Texas, apparently suffered a fatal pulmonary embolism in her home Nov. 26. She was found by her husband, Erick, who is also a paramedic, unconscious on their kitchen floor. She had lain there, not breathing, for some minutes. She was taken to nearby John Peter Smith Hospital, where doctors put her on ICU technologies, including a ventilator, and restored a heartbeat. But doctors soon determined that Munoz had suffered brain death, "irreversible cessation of all spontaneous brain function." She was dead....

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