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Family Begs Judge to Order Baby Kept on Life Support

Doctors say no treatments remain for Tinslee Lewis, but her family wants her kept alive
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 12, 2019 2:44 PM CST
This undated photo provided by Texas Right to Life shows Tinslee Lewis.   (Courtesy of Texas Right to Life via AP)

(Newser) – The mother of a 10-month-old girl on life support testified Thursday that her daughter is “sassy” and enjoys cartoons, as a Texas judge considered whether a Fort Worth hospital can remove life-sustaining treatment because doctors say the infant's condition will never improve. The family of Tinslee Lewis is asking an appellate judge to issue an injunction to ensure the Cook Children's Medical Center doesn't take her off life support, the AP reports. Doctors at the Fort Worth hospital had planned to remove Tinslee from life support Nov. 10 after invoking Texas’ “10-day rule,” which can be employed when a family disagrees with doctors who say life-sustaining treatment should be stopped. The law stipulates that if the hospital's ethics committee agrees with doctors, treatment can be withdrawn after 10 days if a new provider can’t be found to take the patient.

Hospital officials said they've reached out to more than 20 facilities to see if one would take Tinslee, but all agreed that further care is futile. Tinslee has never left Cook Children's since her premature birth. The hospital said she has a rare heart defect and suffers from chronic lung disease and severe chronic high blood pressure. She hasn't come off a ventilator since going into respiratory arrest in early July and requires full respiratory and cardiac support, deep sedation, and to be medically paralyzed. The hospital said doctors believe she's suffering. But Trinity Lewis, Tinslee's mother, testified Thursday that despite her daughter's sedation, she has a sense of the girl's likes and dislikes: Tinslee enjoys the animated musical Trolls and cries when it ends, her mother said, but she doesn't like to have her hair brushed. One of Tinslee's doctors testified the infant is not likely to survive six more months. It's not clear when a ruling will be issued.

(Read more Texas stories.)

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