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Court To Decide Pregnant Brain Dead Woman's Fate

Judge to hear arguments, weigh fate of pregnant Texas woman who family says is brain dead.
FORT WORTH -- In an emergency court hearing scheduled for this afternoon, Erick Munoz could find out if a judge will grant his wish and force a Texas hospital to disconnect his pregnant wife from ventilators.

Marlise Munoz's family agrees, and has said the pregnant mother is "brain dead."

And in new court filings, Erick Munoz, describes the sad scene inside the intensive care unit of John Peter Smith hospital in Fort Worth where Marlise Munoz has been kept since she collapsed of a lung clot on November 26th.

Munoz says there's a "soulless" look in his wife's eyes. And that "when I move her hands, her bones crack, and her legs are nothing more than dead weight" adding that his wife is "nothing more than an empty shell."

The case has sparked a passionate debate over end-of-life decisions.

John Peter Smith Hospital officials say they're following Texas law by keeping Munoz on ventilators in hopes of saving the baby's life. The law overrides a woman's end-of-life wishes if she is pregnant.  The fetus is now about 22 weeks old and doctors can still detect a heartbeat. But Eric Munoz's attorneys says the fetus is deformed and suffering from several abnormalities.

Munoz's family has said the former paramedic never wanted to be kept on life support.  Two experts who helped write the Texas law also argue that if Munoz is brain dead as the family has said, then the hospital is wrong.

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