Fort Worth

Hearing set for Friday in life-support case

A state district judge will hold a hearing Friday to consider removing a pregnant Haltom City woman from life support after she was kept alive by John Peter Smith Hospital against her family’s wishes.

State District Judge R.H. Wallace will hear a request by the family of Marlise Muñoz to have JPS immediately cease further medical procedures and remove her from any respirators, ventilators or other “life support” and release her body to the family for burial.

Muñoz, 33, has been hospitalized since just before Thanksgiving after she was stricken with what doctors believe was a pulmonary embolism. She was 14 weeks pregnant. After doctors told the family that she was considered brain-dead, the family asked that life support be removed.

JPS officials have refused, citing a Texas law that requires pregnant women to be kept on life support until the fetus is viable, usually at 24 to 26 weeks. Muñoz entered her 22nd week of pregnancy Monday.

Her husband, Erick Muñoz, and her family sued JPS last week, challenging the constitutionality of the law.

The case was originally to be heard in state District Judge Melody Wilkinson’s court, but the judge recused herself last week and the case was transferred to Wallace’s court.

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram