The School Newspaper of McKinney North High School.

Polaris

Family should have final say, not hospital

Female symbol with a fist through it represents the fight for freedom to choose.

Female symbol with a fist through it represents the fight for freedom to choose.

Amanda Morton, Editor

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In medical circumstances involving a person on life support, the hospital should respect the patient’s family’s wishes to take their loved one off life support.

All the way back in November, pregnant Marlise Muñoz was rushed to a Fort Worth hospital after her breathing had ceased for about an hour due to a blood clot in her lung. She has been legally brain dead since Nov. 28.

However, the hospital still refused to respect her husband’s, Erick Muñoz, wishes to take her off life support and release the body for burial. Fortunately, the family was victorious in their case against the hospital.

Although the hospital claimed to be following Texas law that protects the rights of her unborn child, they grossly misinterpreted it. Muñoz was dead and her baby was said to be “distinctly abnormal” in medical records. The  22-week-old fetus suffered from hydrocephalus (accumulation of fluid in the cavities of the brain) and heart problems.

Yes, even an unborn baby’s life is valuable, but it’s absolutely sickening that this hospital allowed Muñoz’s family to watch her deteriorate to keep alive a very young fetus that probably had dismal hopes of surviving anyway. It was unfair to the family and it was unfair to the unborn baby.

“When I bend down to kiss her forehead, her usual scent is gone, replaced instead with what I can only describe as the smell of death,” Muñoz said. “Her limbs have become so stiff and rigid due to her deteriorating condition that now, when I move her hands, her bones crack, and her legs are nothing more than dead weight.”

It doesn’t make sense that they would even keep her hooked up so long seeing as the baby was less than 20 weeks old when she went into the hospital, which means that abortion was still a legal option. Why didn’t they just end it there instead of prolonging the suffering of her family?

Texas judge R.H. Wallace Jr. of 96 District Court in Tarrant County ordered the hospital to remove Muñoz from life support by Monday Jan. 27. He ruled that the law prohibiting medical officials to take pregnant patients off life support did not apply since she was legally dead.

Furthermore, Muñoz’s lawyers even asked Wallace to declare the law that the hospital had used to keep Muñoz hooked up to life support unconstitutional as a violation of 14 amendment rights. Unfortunately, Wallace refused since the law didn’t apply to Muñoz.     Hopefully in the future, action will be taken to strike down the law so that another family does not have to suffer from watching a loved one slowly deteriorate right before their own eyes. If a family is strong enough to face reality that their loved one is gone and is able to make the decision with a very heavy heart, their wishes need to be respected.

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The School Newspaper of McKinney North High School.
Family should have final say, not hospital