Pregnant woman removed from life support?

    More on Yahoo: Family Fights to Save Teen Daughter on Life Support
    A month later, against his requests, she is still on a ventilator. Not only does Munoz want to honor his wife's wishes, but also he believes that the fetus she is carrying has been seriously harmed. "I don't know how long she was there prior to me finding her," he said. Munoz, who could not be reached for comment, wrote on WFAA's Facebook page, "All I know is that she was without oxygen long enough for her to have massive brain swelling. I unfortunately know what that type of damage could do to a child during crucial developmental time." Doctors say it's likely that Munoz's wife suffered a pulmonary embolism, and no longer has brain activity.
    Such a tragic, and interesting case. Thoughts?
    Last edit by Esme12 on Dec 26, '13
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    About sapphire18, BSN, RN Guide

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  3. by   Pudnluv
    This is very sad. It is kind of creepy that these states are looking at these women as nothing more than incubators and ignoring their wishes.

    On a side note, my son has a friend whose mother had a brain aneurysm when she was 4 months pregnant. This was 21 years ago. She was kept alive on life support even though she had no brain activity and when she was 8 months pregnant, her son was delivered by C-section. The baby survived and 21 years later he is doing well.
  4. by   BCgradnurse
    This is horrible. Although I feel the patient's and her family's wishes should be honored, I'd feel a lot better about it if there was a good way to assess if the baby has sustained significant brain damage. There's no good outcome here.
  5. by   herring_RN
    Years ago I worked three registry shift at a SNF. They had a special unit with four ventilator patients staffed with one Rn and an LVN. Three were alert patients with ALS and the other was a brain dead pregnant woman.

    Her husband was sad, but wanted the baby. the plan was for her to be taken for a c-section at 35 weeks. She had tube feedings and such.
    I hope the baby was OK.
    An older sibling and two sets of grandparents visited every day with the husband.

    I can't judge anyone. If it were my choice i would give the baby a chance.
  6. by   Esme12
    I saw this on GMA. A Texas man wants his pregnant wife removed from life support.

    What are your thoughts?
    Erick and Marlise Munoz, both paramedics in Tarrant County, Texas, had talked a lot about end-of-life decisions, including the importance of do-not-resuscitate orders. So when doctors put her on life support after suffering a suspected pulmonary embolism last month, her husband says, he knew her wishes.

    Marlise, 33, had lost a brother years before and told her husband she never wanted to be kept alive by machines, he says.

    But Marlise is pregnant, and Texas state law puts the rights of a fetus over the wishes of its mother. The baby Marlise is carrying is now closer to 18 weeks, but Munoz says doctors have no idea what effects the oxygen deprivation Marlise has suffered will have if the baby is delivered.
  7. by   dawniepoo
    It's a horrible situation the husband is in. Interestingly, according to the article, even if she had an advanced directive, they could not honor it due to law. What I don't understand about Texas is that they have such liberal laws regarding execution, but in cases of an unborn fetus life is precious.
  8. by   morte
    and apparently there are several other states with similar laws.
  9. by   Esme12
    That's true....and she is only 18 weeks pregnant "before the age of viability". Texas does have strict local laws about abortion that have been upheld by the supreme court.

    But should her "wishes" or advanced directive be effective if she is pregnant?

    I know years ago we cared for a 18 year old girl with a AVM that blew....she was in a drug induced coma for weeks. She did wake up and have to learn about her pregnancy all over again and a couple of months later gave birth to a beautifully perfect baby girl.
  10. by   Esme12
    There are....I know of cases where the mother's life has been prolonged to grow the fetus to a point where it is capable of living outside the uterus.

    I know if I was pregnant I would want them to try to save the baby regardless of my previous wishes.
  11. by   Sun0408
    This is a tough one here. The mother was found down and without oxygen for an undetermined amount of time. The fetus, while it has a heart beat may have serious complications from this. With the complications of a PE from mom, is the baby getting enough oxygen at this point? What are the odds this baby makes it to 24-28 weeks for delivery??
  12. by   Esme12
    Actually pretty good. If there are no signs that the baby is being "stressed" and the mother is kept "fed" with nutrition and O2 now odds are the baby will grow to be delivered early which in and of itself presents issues. I suppose they can do an amnio for certain defects that might have occurred but I don't think there is one to determine if O2 was compromised. I know very little about fetal medicine.

    Not all states recognize "advanced directives" as gospel it just let the hospital and physicians what their wishes would be IF something was to happen. This was discussed on another thread that unless a POLST/MOLST is signed the EMS is obligated to treat. Now that time has passed does the mothers wishes for her affect the baby?

    According to Texas and many other states it doesn't....the husband even stated there was no "official form".
    Section 166.049 Pregnant Patients. A person may not withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment under this subchapter from a pregnant patient," the code reads.

    Even more, in a health directive form found under the Health and Safety Code, it reads, "I understand under Texas law this directive has no effect if I have been diagnosed as pregnant."

    Erick said he did not officially sign a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) form, but said it was a topic that was "talked about" and mutually agreed upon. However, even with a signed DNR form, the statute to protect the pregnancy would take priority.
    With pregnant wife unresponsive on life support, husband hopes to fulfill her wishes | Dallas - Fort Worth
  13. by   KelRN215
    I'm glad I don't live in Texas, for one. In Texas, abortion is allowed up until 20 weeks and this woman is only 18 weeks pregnant. The fetus is not viable. Women are not human incubators.
  14. by   pixiestudent2
    So is the dad supposed to take care of and be financially responsible of the child when the baby is born, what if it did have some horrible defect?