Two Opposite Battles Over Protecting Loved Ones on Life Support

The story of two families trying to come to grips with an agonizing decision.
3:00 | 12/29/13

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Transcript for Two Opposite Battles Over Protecting Loved Ones on Life Support
And now to the controversial case playing out in california. The doctors who declared a teenage girl brain dead and the family demanding the hospital allow them to move her elsewhere now. And tonight, we learn here of yet another case, this one playing out in texas, in which the roles are reversed. Abc's aditi roy on the very painful decisions families face and the two very different fights. Reporter: Two families facing two agonizing decisions. In texas, the husband of a pregnant woman on life support wants to let her die peacefully. While in california, a teenager's family is battling to keep her alive on life support. This isn't some question for speculation in a classroom or in a textbook. This is an actual patient's life and an actual family who is trying to come to grips with what was such a shocking development. Reporter: Erick munoz found his pregnant wife marlise unconscious in their living room just two days before thanksgiving. He says doctors suspect she may have suffered a pulmonary embolism, and has been on life support ever since. We talked about it. We're both paramedics, we've seen things out in the field and, you know, we both knew that we didn't want to be on life support. Reporter: But john peter smith hospital won't let munoz end marlise's life, because a texas law prevents doctors from removing life support from pregnant patients. But in california, the roles are reversed. Time is running out for the family of 13-year-old jahi McMATH. A judge ruling children's hospital oakland can take the teen off life support tomorrow evening. McMATH'S FAMILY SAID SHE WENT Into cardiac arrest following a routine TONSILLECTOMY DECEMBER 9th. The family hopeful a new york facility will accept the young girl after two california care homes withdrew their offers to admit the teen. We'll have to go in court and we'll have to buy time. We're going have to do this by any means necessary. Reporter: Mcmath's family members say they're trying to raise money to move the teenager to the new york care center. Munoz says his wife is 18 weeks pregnant now, and doctors may try to remove the fetus as early as 24 weeks. David? Aditi roy, thank you. We turn next here to a new

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