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Knowledge Portal > News > Posts > Love notes from Laurel: Death in Pregnancy--An American Tragedy
February 07
Love notes from Laurel: Death in Pregnancy--An American Tragedy




We are pleased to bring you an unprecedented second edition of Love Notes From Laurel this week, though we are not as pleased by the subject matter. Dr. Rice would like us to consider a recent perspectives piece from the New England Journal of Medicine, authored by Jeffrey L. Ecker, MD, regarding a recent tragedy in Texas.
The article discusses the case of a 33-year old woman, wife and mother, left brain dead by a massive pulmonary embolism while 14 weeks pregnant. Honoring what they believed to be her end-of-life wishes, her family asked that no extraordinary measures be taken to keep her alive. However, the hospital caring for her, acting on an interpretation of Texas law, refused to remove her from life support. A legal battle ensued, and while her (and her family's) wishes were ultimately supported by the court, the larger question of the law was kicked down the road until next time.
As the author states, the field of obstetrics doesn't isn't often forced to deal with death; however, cases like this one should cause us to ask ourselves where our morals and ethics lie, and what we would do in a similarly unfortunate situation.
A journalistic account, appearing in the New York Times in January, further illustrates the perspectives of the family Marlise Munoz left behind.



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