Brain-Dead Woman's Husband Named Unborn Child

Erick and Marlise Munoz hold their son, Mateo.
Erick and Marlise Munoz hold their son, Mateo.Courtesy KC Studios Photography

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Aware that he would never get to meet her, the husband of a pregnant, brain-dead woman nonetheless named their unborn child before his wife was taken off life support Sunday.

Nicole was the name chosen by Erick Munoz for the 23-week-old fetus that would have been his second child with wife Marlise, he told the Associated Press. Their first child, Mateo, is 15-months-old.

"They think it was a female," Munoz added, saying that doctors at the John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth had indicated to him that the fetus would likely have been a girl, although his attorneys previously said the unborn baby suffered from lower body deformation that made it impossible to determine a gender.

Marlise Munoz was 14 weeks pregnant when she was rushed to hospital after suffering what her husband believes was a pulmonary embolism.

Both the hospital and Erick’s attorneys, agreed the fetus could not have been born alive that early in the pregnancy.

As Texas law states that life-sustaining treatment cannot be withdrawn or withheld from a pregnant patient, despite a "do not resuscitate" request from the patient or a request from the family and the hospital declined to remove life support.

Munoz battled the decision in court, insisting that he had discussed end-of-life issues with his wife and they did not want to be kept alive by machines and on Friday, Tarrant County District Judge R.H. Wallace gave the hospital until 5 p.m. ET on Monday to disconnect Munoz, 33, from her ventilator.

They complied yesterday and her body was released to Erick, a statement from the family attorneys said Sunday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.