It's a husband's worst nightmare. Your pregnant and brain-dead wife lies hospitalized in a Texas facility. Before the tragic situation, you discussed these kinds of events and what steps each of you would take. You both decided that long-term life support was not an option and as hard as it may be, it would best to let the other one go. And while you never imagined you'd actually have to keep your partner's word, the decision is now in your hands. Except, your hands are tied and the law prohibits you from honoring your wife's wishes.
For one Texas man, this is reality.
Despite his wishes - and what he claims were his wife's as well - a nearly 6-month pregnant woman lays lifeless and brain dead in a North Texas hospital where she has been placed on life-support according to an article in My San Antonio Online. The hospital is arguing that current laws prevent her from being taken off life-support. As this case unfolds San Antonio lawyers and law firms in San Antonio might want to take note as precedent could be set.
The law in question states that “A person may not withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment under this subchapter from a pregnant patient.” While the hospital has not made any official statements of brain death, the patient's husband did tell the article's author that a doctor at the hospital has confirmed that she is indeed brain dead. Clinical ethics experts and law professors have weighed in on the debate. Law firms in San Antonio can take note that although the hospital would not have absolute immunity from a civil or criminal case if it went outside subchapter referenced by the law, a law professor reiterated that most medical decisions are made without immunity.
The patient’s husband has numerous concerns. As a paramedic, he is no stranger to life-and-death situations himself and he alone is caring for his 14-month old son. He is not ruling out legal action, given the hospital is going against he and his wife’s clearly expressed interests. The legal precedent for such a case seems to be scarce, as documented instances of brain death in pregnancy appear to be rare. With only 30 similar cases found in the journal of BMC medicine across more than 30 years, the journal only found 12 in which a viable child was born. Law firms in San Antonio handling such a case would probably be laying groundwork for similar cases in the future.
The patient’s husband, however, is stressing that more than just legal action, he wants to promote awareness of the situation and create pressure for the state to change its laws. Instead of becoming involved in a multi-year, time consuming and emotionally taxing lawsuit, the husband wants to help other families avoid similar situations in the future. Bringing legal action against a large Texas hospital is no small feat, and law firms in San Antonio could probably attest, however, that filing suit may be the quickest and best way to do that for future patients. In the meantime, the patient’s husband is managing his “roller coaster of emotions” as the public and law firms in San Antonio watch to see how the case unfolds.