Ron T. Ennis/The Fort Worth Star-Telegram/AP Photo
A pregnant Texas woman has been removed from life support after months of legal wrangling between her family, who wanted her removed from the machines, and the hospital, which said it had a legal duty to keep her alive while her fetus was viable.
Marlise Munoz was removed from life support around 11:30 a.m. CT, according to a statement from the Munoz family attorneys.
Munoz has been on life support since a suspected pulmonary embolism rendered her brain dead in November. On Friday, a judge ordered John Peter Smith Hospital, the Texas hospital where Munoz was treated, to remove her from life support by 5 p.m. Monday.
The hospital said in a statement earlier today that they would not appeal the judge’s ruling.
“JPS has said its role was not to make nor contest law but to follow it,” read the statement. “The hospital will follow the court order.”
The family of Munoz had sued to get the 33-year-old paramedic off life support after she was found to be brain dead.
The family issued a statement today confirming that she had been removed from life-support.
“The Munoz and Machado families will now proceed with the somber task of laying Marlise Munoz’s body to rest, and grieving over the great loss that has been suffered,” read a statement from the family’s attorneys.
Munoz was 14 weeks pregnant at the time she suffered the suspected embolism. As a result of her pregnancy, John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth said state law barred it from removing her from life support until Munoz miscarried or a baby was born.
Munoz’s family said she never wanted to be on life support, and they sued to have her removed from it on Jan. 14, arguing that the law didn’t apply to her because she was legally dead.
Judge R. H. Wallace Jr. agreed.
“Mrs. Munoz is dead,” the judge ruled Friday.
After the ruling, Munoz’s husband, Eric, stood with his lawyers as they made a statement on his behalf.
“This is the decision we sought. There is nothing happy about today. This was a sad situation all the way around,” Munoz family attorney Heather King told reporters after the ruling. “We are relieved that Eric Munoz can now move forward with the process of burying his wife.”
When asked for his response to the ruling an emotional Eric Munoz could barely answer “No comment.”
The case has sparked a heated debate about whether a woman who is medically dead should be kept on life support for the duration of her pregnancy for the sake of her fetus. Although Munoz’s mother told ABCNews.com that this is not about abortion for them, the case has also garnered attention from both sides of the abortion debate.
“It’s very frustrating because we know what our daughter wanted, and we’re not about to honor that because of this law,” Munoz’s mother, Lynne Machado told ABCNews.com in December, before deciding to contest the law.
On Wednesday, the family’s lawyers announced that the 22-week-old fetus was “distinctly abnormal,” with water on the brain, a possible heart condition and lower extremity deformities.
Texas law states that “a person may not withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment under this subchapter from a pregnant patient,” but the judge determined it doesn’t apply to Munoz because she is already legally dead. In Texas, death is legally defined as “the “irreversible cessation of the person’s spontaneous respiratory and circulatory functions,” according to the Munoz family’s legal filing.
According to the suit, the hospital interpreted the law in a way that “makes no sense and amounts to nothing more than the cruel and obscene mutilation of a deceased body against the expressed will of the deceased and her family.”
They also questioned whether the law was constitutional, but the judge did not make a ruling.
Because John Peter Smith Hospital is a local public hospital, the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office represented it. On behalf of the hospital, the office filed its response to the suit last week, in which it denied all allegations.
The family’s heartbreak began on Nov. 26, when Munoz got out of bed in the middle of the night because her 14-month-old son, Mateo, began to cry, Machado said. When the baby continued to cry and Munoz didn’t return, Munoz’s firefighter husband got up too. That’s when he found Munoz on the kitchen floor. She was not breathing and had no pulse. Her skin had taken on a bluish color, Machado said.
Doctors suspect she had a pulmonary embolism, or a blood clot in the lungs, but they won’t know until an autopsy can be performed, Machado said.
“It’s hard to reach the point where you wish your wife’s body would stop,” Erick Munoz told ABC News’ Dallas-Fort Worth affiliate WFAA-TV.
They did it! Sean Lowe and Catherine Giudici finally said “I do” on Sunday night, as their friends and family looked on. “It feels like just yesterday I was getting down on one knee in Thailand,” Lowe told ABC News before the wedding, “but on the other hand, it feels like we’ve been counting down to our wedding for a long, long time!” From Catherine’s dress shopping expedition to Sean’s hunt for lingerie for his now-wife — and of course, all of the emotional moments from the ceremony, see the full recap below.
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“He’s been really lenient about everything but the vows,” Guidici said. “We definitely wanted to write our own vows, and that came from [Sean], which is so sweet. Very, very early on he said, ‘I want to do our vows,’ even though we just started them a couple days ago.” Lowe, who added, “The wedding’s all about the bride!” laughed. “We’re procrastinators!” he said with a shrug.
The Fashion and Jewels
Fans of the show have already seen photos of Giudici trying on Monique Lhuillier gowns, but surprise! Lowe is going along with her “grown sexy” attitude too. “This is my one chance to wear a baller tux,” he said. “The show has a great stylist, and he got me this Dolce and Gabanna tux that’s amazing. It’s black, but it’s got a bit of a sheen to it. It’s got a darker lapel, and I’ll be wearing the white short and a bow tie, so I’m keeping it classy.” As a bonus, Neil Lane, who designed the couple’s rings, is also loaning diamond cufflinks to Lowe, and Giudici will be wearing Lane’s jewelry too.
“There’s gonna be a really cool flower arrangement at the reception, but I don’t know what it’s gonna look like at the ceremony!” Giudici admitted. “[But] I love peonies and hydrangeas – bulbous flowers.” To go along with the neutral color scheme, the bride-to-be added that there may be some white roses in the mix, “but red’s out!” she said. “No red roses at all.”
Some of the show’s successful couples, including Jason and Molly Mesnick, Ashley Hebert and J.P. Rosenbaum, Trista and Ryan Sutter, and the latest couple to get engaged, Desiree Hartsock and Chris Siegfried, will be invited, along with contestant pals of the couple’s. Expect to see Arie Luyendyk Jr. and Jef Holm from Lowe’s stint on “The Bachelorette,” and Lesley Murphy, from Giudici’s season of “The Bachelor,” is one of the bridesmaids.
“Our color theme is gold. Golds and neutral colors,” Giudici said. “I love gold, and not only [because I wore it in] Thailand, but it’s very vibrant and fun in a grown-up way.” In keeping with the color scheme, the bridesmaids will be wearing blush with gold accents. “I wanted all of them to feel really comfortable and beautiful because it’s a big day for them too,” she added. “So, I gave them a litle bit of freedom!”
“It was really up to the hotel,” Giudici said of the menu. “[But] they have exquisite choices, and I know our guests are really gonna be wow’d with the options they have.” One thing they did have some control over? The cakes. In addition to a wedding cake that they’re both excited about, there will be a special groom’s cake in the likeness of the couple’s two dogs.
While the ceremony will be more traditional (complete with the couple’s nephews sharing the role of ring bearer and Lowe’s niece acting as the flower girl), the reception will be relaxed. “It’s our two families and friends coming together to celebrate us so I just wanted the reception to be a big party,” he said. “I want everyone to have fun and let loose, and I think we’re definitely gonna accomplish that.”
Jan 26, 2014 8:38am
The music industry will take center stage in Hollywood tonight at The 56th Grammy Awards.
The biggest names in popular music will perform and are nominated; they include Madonna, Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar, Pink, and Robin Thicke.
In Yahoo Music’s predictions for the winners, Lorde’s “Royals,” is a frontrunner to win a Grammy for both Record and Song of the Year. Lorde, 17, would become the youngest winner in Grammy history in both of those categories.
“It would be super awesome to win a Grammy, I mean, it would probably be the craziest thing that will ever happen to me if it happens,” Lorde said to Australian website The Music . “But it definitely won’t cheapen or make less anything I’ve achieved.”
Jay-Z has dominated the rap categories with nine nominations in total for his album “Magna Carta Holy Grail.”
The rapper, 44, is expected to perform with his wife Beyoncé. The couple is nominated for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. That nod, makes Beyoncé,32, the most nominated female Grammy artist alongside Dolly Parton with 46.
Kendrick Lamar is performing tonight with fellow nominee Imagine Dragons. Lamar, 26, is nominated for seven awards, including Best New Artist.
Lamar recalled how he learned of his multiple nominations.
“I was actually on stage, so I had no idea. Everybody else knew but me,” Lamar told The Hollywood Reporter. “By the time I got off I kinda got the news late. It was a great feeling, everybody was happy, excited.”
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Justin Timberlake and Pharrell Williams are also are nominated for seven awards each.
The Grammy Awards air tonight at 8p.m. on the CBS Network.
SHOWS: Good Morning America
Jan 25, 2014 2:22pm
He may not be painting masterpieces like George W. Bush, or tooting the saxophone a la Bill Clinton, but life after politics is looking pretty rosy for Mitt Romney. From slow jamming the news with Jimmy Fallon to a blossoming bromance with Zach Braff, the former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential candidate had a busy day on Friday. Here’s a look at his amazing night.
Last night a visibly relaxed Romney sporting blue jeans and blazer joined the ranks of former “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” guests like President Obama and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie who have slow jammed the news with host Jimmy Fallon.
Fallon and Romney, together with The Roots’ Questlove Jenkins, crooned a series of digs and double entendres throughout the jam, tackling topics like President Obama’s upcoming State of the Union address and NSA surveillance allegations.
“President Obama looked the American people up and down and said: ‘I’d tap that,” Fallon lulled, later cutting a gibe at Romney about his 47 percent remark. A “low blow,” but “pretty funny, ” Romney conceded.
Romney also seized the opportunity to tout the new documentary out on Netflix simply titled “MITT,” while Fallon couldn’t pass up mentioning the former governor’s “Gangnam Style” dancing antics at a Mormon Church Event in Maryland last week.
After the show, a chance run-in with director/actor Zach Braff at John F. Kennedy International Airport sparked a Twitter exchange that lasted throughout the pair’s four-and-a-half-hour flight back to Salt Lake City.
Somehow winding up as seatmates, Romney tweeted with this selfie of the unlikely buddies.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) January 25, 2014
Braff even called him a “very cool dude.”
But ever the diplomat, Braff didn’t want his other friends to feel left out…
Just emailed the President. Don’t want him getting jels. — Zach Braff (@zachbraff) January 25, 2014
As the new friends parted ways, Romney promising he would attend the screening of Braff’s new indie film “Wish I Was Here,” in Park city on Saturday, while Fallon followed up with a short thank you tweet for last night’s news jam.
— jimmy fallon (@jimmyfallon) January 25, 2014
SHOWS: Good Morning America
Jan 27, 2014 8:03am
Was last week’s stock market plunge just a two-day tumble or a true sign of worry? Some market watchers say the rout is a buying opportunity, pointing to signs of improvement for both the US economy and Japan’s return to growth.
Stock futures rose this morning, but with rising volatility and emerging market turmoil, Wall Street is on edge as the new trading week begins. The S&P 500 – the benchmark for many stock mutual funds – dropped 2.6 percent last week. The Dow Jones Index opens for business below 16,000.
Asian markets were hit hard today on the possibility of slower growth in China and the likelihood the Federal Reserve will announce a further drop in its bond-buying stimulus Wednesday.
Emerging markets have been propped up for years by investors seeking higher returns using easy money from the Fed and other central banks. Now that these policies may be ending soon, some investors are heading for the exits. The financial crisis in Argentina and the rise in value of the US dollar are playing into investor fears.
This is a busy week for corporate earnings reports. Apple will be the stock to watch later today when it releases its latest quarterly report. Investors will be paying attention to iPhone sales, looking for the previous year’s records to be broken. Apple released two new iPhones during the last quarter of 2013. It’s also signed new deals with China Mobile – the world’s largest cell phone provider – and Japan’s top company NTT DoCoMo.
Google announces its quarterly earnings Thursday. While the firm may announce big gains in advertising revenues, Google stock has soared 30 percent in the past three months. Without a blow-out report this week, Google’s stock price could sag.
Samsung Electronics it has signed an agreement with Google to cross-license their patents. The firm says the deal covers patents to be filed over the next 10 years as well as existing patents. Samsung said it also paves the way for deeper collaboration on research and development for Samsung and Google. The two already collaborate on smartphones and televisions.
Other corporate reports to watch for include earnings from ExxonMobil, boosted by rising refinery revenues and natural gas prices. Ford and Chrysler will also announce their results this week. Both firms have been boosted by North American sales, but were hit by the deep slump in Europe.
Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesnow