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Monday, January 27, 2014

19

After a Lawsuit, Texas Hospital Finally Lets Marlise Munoz Go

In case you missed the awfully overdue conclusion to this story, the brain-dead woman in Texas being forcibly kept alive to support her likely non-viable fetus has been taken off life support as of yesterday. Her paramedic husband Erick Munoz is likely facing a minimum of $300,000 in medical bills, and his firefighters' association is raising money to support him. From CNN: "the hospital's position drew support from demonstrators outside the hospital, some of whom held signs last week that read God stands for life and Praying for Baby Munoz." 



19 Comments / Post A Comment

coolallison

Everything about this situation is horrible, and I hope that now Erick can finally grieve.

Mingus_Thurber

Everything about this is horrible, the protesters are the worst, and somebody needs to school them in science, STAT.

Then make them take care of somebody who's been on full-on life support for six weeks. I've done it, and it was the most horrible week of my life. If they're gonna protest a rational decision, let *them* see the consequences.

coolallison

@Mingus_Thurber This is a quote from the hospital's lawyer during the proceedings, "I don't want to minimize the trauma or anxiety of Mr Munoz, but all he has to do is wait."

ALL HE HAS TO DO IS WAIT? BECAUSE... NBD ABOUT HIS WIFE, AMIRIGHT?

Mingus_Thurber

@coolallison Wait. WUT.

I can't even make intelligible sounds right now. Yes, all Mr. Munoz had to do was wait.

While his wife bloated with fluid and shat out her own intestines and had her blood run constantly through a machine that took the place of her failing kidneys because the drugs we use to keep dead bodies "alive" cause a lack of circulation in things like kidneys and intestines and toes and fingers.

If the hospital had won the decision, he'd have then only had to wait until a baby, with minimal development of its lower limbs and brain damage from a lack of oxygen, was delivered by Cesarean section and kept on machines until it, too, gave out completely.

Ooooooo the things I hope for that lawyer.

chickpeas akimbo

@coolallison I get that the hospital had to obey the laws here and could not, legally, remove her from life support. The law in Texas sucks. Fine. Do you know what you do if you are the lawyer for the hospital in that situation? You shut the fuck up. Jesus.

supernintendochalmers

HALF A MILLION DOLLARS? This story makes me so angry. I hope he sues the shit out of Texas for allowing this to happen. I tried searching for somewhere I could donate to him but wasn't able to find anything. If anyone knows if there's a fund set up, I'd love to give.

j-i-a

@supernintendochalmers here's a thing that was sort of buried on that crowley firefighters page!

If you or anyone you know could possibly donate to assist Erick and Mateo, please go to any Wells Fargo Bank and ask the teller to place the money into "Erick and Mateo Munoz" account ending in 6476. You may also write a check to CPFFA 4182 and get it to any Crowley Firefighter or Crowley Fire Station. You may also mail checks made out to CPFFA 4182 to PO Box 774, Crowley, Tx 76036. This will go to help Erick with both medical bills, and to assist Erick with Mateo currently and in the future.

Alli525

@supernintendochalmers RIGHT? "We're not letting you take her off life support, AND you have to pay out the nose for the life support that you don't want her to be on!" Fan-fucking-tastic.

supernintendochalmers

@j-i-a Thank you, this is great! I will send them a check. I love that they're doing this through his fire station.

irieagogo

@j-i-a

Mailing a check today, thanks for the 411.

lemonadefish

@supernintendochalmers The hospital ought to be writing off the bill, seeing as how he refused treatment. I hope a good lawyer gets involved and sues a lot of people.

de Pizan

@lemonadefish Seriously. There's got to be a way he can fight the hospital on that bill. As if everything else he went through wasn't horrifying enough already, that he's now facing catastrophic/bankrupting bills on top of that is just beyond words.

KDubb

@supernintendochalmers
Assuming the Munoz's had health care coverage, I wonder how likely the chances are that their medical claims will be denied...considering that most carriers probably won't cover expenses incurred after being declared dead.

testingwithfire

@j-i-a - thanks for the info. Check will be sent off today.

I wonder how much crazier things have to get before these vampires are voted out of office. It's no accident that the law favors hospital billing.

Paige Gibson@facebook

While I really applaud the author for alerting readers to the fund set up for this poor man and his little guy, I don't think it's accurate to say that he's "likely" facing a hospital bill of $500K. If you read the linked article, you'll find it's to a news outlet (Al Jezeera America) which was not able to get any information re cost from the hospital. The $500K figure is a total shot in the dark, based on how much intensive care units in the States cost on average in 2002. More importantly, they come to the $500K figure because they work on the assumption that the fetus would be delivered and require further care:

"However, a 2002 study estimated the cost for an ICU bed in an average U.S. hospital is $2,000 to $3,000 per day. Marlise Muñoz has been in the ICU since Nov. 26. If her fetus survives delivery, it will be cared for in the neonatal intensive care unit, an even pricier cost center in any hospital. According to a recent report by the March of Dimes, the average hospital charge for infants born before 32 weeks of gestation runs to more than $280,000."

Anyhow, I totally applaud the point of this article. I just think it's important not to throw around big figures that aren't based in fact, especially when asking people to donate. I only figured out the $500K number was off because I was in the middle of writing a big email to my family in hopes that they'd all give, and I figured I'd better double-check. I'm still writing the email, just with some revised numbers.

One other thing: it seems like there's some discrepancy in the mailing address for the Crowley fire department. The PO box is either 774 or 747 depending on which website you're looking at. I haven't figured out which one is correct yet.

j-i-a

@Paige Gibson@facebook Sorry, I've edited my wording; I'd confused the actual estimate ($5,200 per day, which is the adjusted figure from older studies, to keep someone on mechanical ventilation runs upwards of $300,000 for Marlise Munoz's hospital stay) with that Al-Jazeera figure that included the neonatal costs. Thank you for writing to your family about it!

coolallison

@Paige Gibson@facebook I dunno, my dad was in an ICU for 6 weeks, and his hospital bill was over a million dollars. I'd believe $500k. (I've worked in a hospital as an accountant... I've seen multi-million in charges for NICU babies. It's ridiculous.)

j-i-a

@coolallison Urgh, yeah, that sort of thing was part of my reasoning as well (although I of course should have been more careful citing): I have a doctor friend who's done a fellowship rotation through this exact hospital, and she was estimating real costs well over these estimates. I was once in an isolated room in a Texas hospital getting treated for an active case of post-Peace Corps tuberculosis and my bill for 7 days and 1 procedure was $220,000 (all covered under worker's comp because I'd been a "government employee," but a really staggering experience).

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