Marlise Munoz is lying in a Texas hospital, growing the baby she died carrying. On November 26, 2013, her husband found her unconscious and unresponsive, a victim of a pulmonary embolism, a condition for which pregnant women face an increased risk. After administering emergency CPR, the blood clot cut off flow to Marlise’s lungs and robbed her fetus of oxygen for an unknown period of time. Even though her heart was restarted in the hospital, Munoz was declared brain dead shortly after. She will never wake up.
Her family decided to respect her expressed wish not be kept alive artificially. After losing her brother four years earlier, Marlise and her husband—both paramedics who have witnessed death firsthand—had made their wishes clear. However, the Texas hospital responsible for Marlise’s care didn’t allow that to happen. They cited a provision of an obscure Texas law prohibiting the patient to die so long as she is pregnant. The hospital states they are only following the law, while legal experts counter that the hospital’s interpretation of the law is in error. All the while the Munoz family, Marlise, and the unborn child wait in limbo.