Battle Wages on Over Whether Hospital Can Take Baby Off Life Support Against Mother's Wishes
Eleven-month-old Tinslee Lewis was born with a rare heart defect that doctors believe she won't recover from
Just a day after a judge decided a hospital can go through with plans to remove an 11-month-old baby from life support, Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton filed an appeal that could potentially give the child’s family more time.
Baby Tinslee Lewis has remained at Cook Children’s Medical Center since she was born in February 2019 with a rare heart defect called Ebstein’s anomaly, according to KTVT. The defect, which affects the tricuspid valve — the valve that sits between the two right heart chambers — has left Tinslee with lung disease and severe chronic pulmonary hypertension.
Doctors there believe Tinslee is in constant pain and she won’t be able to recover and have planned to remove her from life support, according to CNN.
“All the things we have to do to keep her alive and well are causing her pain and suffering and we don’t want to do that any longer,” a hospital representative told KTVT.
Tinslee’s family has since fought to find other solutions in the hopes of saving her life.
But on Thursday, Judge Sandee Bryan Marion sided with the hospital after Tinslee’s mother, Trinity Lewis, asked for an injunction to keep the hospital from implementing with end-of-life proceedings. Cook Children’s Medical Center told CBS that they’ve reached out to more than 20 other hospitals to see if anyone of them would agree to treat Tinslee, but all believed any further treatment would not improve the baby’s quality of life.
“Today’s decision from Chief Justice Sandee B. Marion restores the ability of the Cook Children’s medical staff to make the most compassionate and medically appropriate decisions for Tinslee as she struggles in pain to survive each day. This is an emotional and difficult situation for everyone involved, especially for this family who had high hopes that Tinslee would get better,” the hospital said in a statement to CBS.
“Cook Children’s has been devoted to this precious baby her entire life, providing compassionate, round-the-clock, intensive care and attention since she arrived at our hospital 11 months ago,” the statement continued. “Her body is tired. She is suffering. It’s time to end this cycle because, tragically, none of these efforts will ever make her better.”
Trinity Lewis issued a statement through anti-abortion group Texas Right to Life after the ruling.
“I am heartbroken over today’s decision because the judge basically said Tinslee’s life is NOT worth living,” she said, as noted by CNN. “I feel frustrated because anyone in that courtroom would want more time just like I do if Tinslee were their baby. I hope that we can keep fighting through an appeal to protect Tinslee. She deserves the right to live. Please keep praying for Tinslee and thank you for supporting us during this difficult time.”
On Friday, Governor Abbott and Attorney General Paxton filed an amicus curiae letter in the Second Court of Appeals that agreed with the Lewis family and suggested the Fort Worth appellate to grant an emergency stay in the judge’s order.
“This case presents a life-or-death decision,” said Attorney General Ken Paxton, according to KTVT. “The right-to-life and the guarantee of due process are of the utmost importance not only to baby Tinslee and her family, but to all Texans. I will continue to fight for Tinslee and my office will continue to use all necessary resources to ensure that she will not be deprived of her right to live.”
Paxton announced the Fort Worth Court of Appeals granted Tinslee emergency relief on Friday afternoon.
Doctors believe she will likely die within half a year, according to CBS.
“She is in pain,” Dr. Jay Duncan told the outlet. “Changing a diaper causes pain. Suctioning her breathing tube causes pain. Being on the ventilator causes pain.”