Marlise Munoz, the brain-dead pregnant woman lying in a Fort Worth hospital whose status raised a storm of controversy, was finally removed from life support on Sunday, January 26.
Representatives from her family released a statement saying that Munoz could finally rest in peace, and her family could now complete "what has been an unbearably long and arduous journey."
The family's statement followed one from John Peter Smith Hospital, which announced that it would follow a court order issued by Judge R.H. Wallace of the 96th District Court of Tarrant County on Friday, January 24, regarding Munoz' condition. The hospital had until 5 pm Monday to comply.
"The past eight weeks have been difficult for the Munoz family, the caregivers and the entire Tarrant County community, which found itself involved in a sad situation," read the hospital's statement. "JPS Health Network has followed what we believed were the demands of a state statute.
"From the onset, JPS has said its role was not to make nor contest law but to follow it. On Friday, a state district judge ordered the removal of life-sustaining treatment from Marlise Munoz. The hospital will follow the court order."
Munoz was 14 weeks pregnant when she was rushed to the hospital in November 2013 by her husband, Erick Munoz, who found her unconscious, possibly having suffered a pulmonary embolism. She never showed any brain activity after she was admitted, and family members, including her husband, wished to observe her stated wishes that she did not want to be kept alive.
Erick filed a lawsuit against the hospital on January 14 to compel doctors to remove life support after it was determined that the fetus suffered deformed lower extremities, hydrocephalus and other abnormalities, including a possible heart problem.
According to the statement from the Munoz family, Marlise was removed from life support at approximately 11:30 am, and her body was released to Erick Munoz.
"The Munoz and Machado families will now proceed with the somber task of laying Marlise Munoz’s body to rest, and grieving over the great loss that has been suffered," the statement read.