Texas judge recuses herself from lawsuit over brain-dead pregnant woman

TEXAS (TIP): The judge overseeing a lawsuit seeking to force a Texas hospital to remove a braindead pregnant woman from life support abruptly recused herself from the case January 16. In a oneparagraph order issued without explanation late in the afternoon, Tarrant County District Judge Melody Wilkinson removed herself from the nationally watched case of Marlise Munoz, the 33-year-old Fort Worth paramedic whose husband has sued to have her taken off of life support.

Marlise Munoz was 14 weeks pregnant when she collapsed in November from what doctors believe was a pulmonary embolism. Her husband, Erick Munoz, has said that doctors have described her as brain-dead and that his wife was clear that she wouldn’t want to be kept alive. Erick Munoz on Tuesday sued John Peter Smith Hospital of Fort Worth, which responded that it was barred by state law from removing a pregnant patient from life support. Neither judge Wilkinson nor the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office would elaborate on the move, but Bud Kennedy, a reporter for the Fort Worth Star- Telegram, tweeted on Jan 16 that Wilkinson’s campaign treasurer is also general counsel for JPS Health Network, the hospital’s parent company.

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