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Brain dead women ordered off life support

End of life decisions are always difficult. While we all know, down deep, that no one lives forever; it is difficult to come to terms with our own mortality. It is also difficult to have this conversation with our loved ones, whether they are our spouse or our elderly parents. Nonetheless, we all could face unpleasant choices because of illness, old age, a car accident or medical malpractice during a "routine" surgery.

The case involving the 3-year-old girl here in Hawaii who suffered brain damage during dental procedure and the mother in Texas, who suffered a pulmonary embolism at home and was found unconscious, are two recent examples of difficult choices presented to parents or spouses.

A judge in Texas yesterday ordered the pregnant woman taken off life support. She had been on life support since November, and doctors claimed they had to keep her alive because state law prohibited the termination of life support for a pregnant woman.

The husband and family had been attempting to end life support, arguing she has been brain dead since November and that she had made it clear that she would never have wanted to be kept alive in this manner.

The judge's decision acknowledged that the woman was brain dead since November 28, and that the fetus was not viable. The husband's attorneys this week had released a statement indicating the fetus was suffering from hydrocephalus, had heart problems and deformed lower extremities.

Crises like this are always an ordeal for a family to endure, and we can only imagine the anguish the husband went through watching his dead wife's distress being prolonged.

Source: Hawaii Public Radio, "Judge Tells Hospital To Take Pregnant Woman Off Life Support," Bill Chappell, January 24, 2014

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