Marlise Munoz: Fetus of Pregnant Woman on Life Support 'Abnormal'

Friday, 24 Jan 2014 04:38 PM

By Ken Mandel

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Attorneys for the family of pregnant, brain-dead Marlise Munoz revealed Wednesday that her fetus is "distinctly abnormal" and were scheduled to ask a judge on Friday to allow the woman to be taken off life support.

"Even at this early stage, the lower extremities are deformed to the extent that the gender cannot be determined," attorneys Jessica Janicek and Heather King said in a statement, CNN reported. "The fetus suffers from hydrocephalus. It also appears that there are further abnormalities, including a possible heart problem, that cannot be specifically determined due to the immobile nature of Mrs. Munoz's deceased body."

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Hydrocephalus is also known as water on the brain.

"Quite sadly, this information is not surprising due to the fact that the fetus, after being deprived of oxygen for an indeterminate length of time, is gestating within a dead and deteriorating body, as a horrified family looks on in absolute anguish, distress and sadness," the attorneys continued.

Erick Munoz found his wife unconscious at their home on Nov. 26, when she was 14 weeks pregnant with the couple's second child. He asked a court last week to force the hospital to remove her from a respirator, ventilator, and other machines that were keeping her alive, as were her wishes.

"Marlise Munoz is legally dead, and to further conduct surgical procedures on a deceased body is nothing short of outrageous," Erick Munoz said in the motion, according to CNN.

Munoz filed an emergency motion against John Peter Smith Hospital so her family can give the woman a proper burial. State District Judge R.H. Wallace was scheduled to hear those arguments.

Hospital spokesman J.R. Labbe told reporters last month that doctors were obeying a Texas law that says "you cannot withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment for a pregnant patient," though several experts told The Associated Press that the hospital is misapplying the law.

Anti-abortion groups have also weighed in, arguing that the fetus deserves the chance to be born.

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