Nightly News   |  January 12, 2014

Hospital Won’t Take Pregnant Mom Off Life Support

Despite a family’s pleas, a Texas hospital refuses to remove a mother from life support because she’s 20-weeks pregnant. NBC News’ Janet Shamlian reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> in texas , a wrenching life and death struggle is going on, involving a woman who is being kept on life support because she is pregnant. her family says she is already brain dead and has asked that she be disconnect from a ventilator. the hospital says no, citing texas law. more on this from nbc's janet shamlian .

>> reporter: marlise munos is 20 weeks pregnant with her second child, a baby she'll never know. it was pure heartbreak when she fell from an apparent blood cloth six weeks ago and doctors at john peter smith hospital told them to say good-bye. texas law prohibits them from removing her from life support .

>> we are not about making law or contesting law. if this goes to a court or a judge who says you need to change what you're doing in any way, then we will follow the direction of the legal system.

>> reporter: the hospital will not confirm the 33-year-old is brain dead , citing privacy laws . tonight munoz remains on a ventilator in intensive care amid discussions of end of life care.

>> i don't think the law is being applied correctly in this case. mrs. munoz sadly, tragically, is dead. the law applies clearly to people who are living sheechlt isn't. so i don't think it applies to her.

>> reporter: an attorney for the munoz family says they hope to get a court order as early as tomorrow to remove marlise from the ventilator.

>> time is not on this family's side. as the fetus continues to grow, it will become viable at some point. after viability, a texas woman could no longer have an abortion.

>> reporter: in ft. worth, a protest outside the hospital and strong words from the pro-life community.

>> there are two patients involved, the mother and the unborn child . it's up to the state of texas to recognize both and have a policy which is in the best interest of both.

>> reporter: a tragic case with no easy answers. janet shamlian , nbc news, houston.