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Judge: Keep Baby on Life Support Till the New Year

Legal battle continues between family of 10-month-old Tinslee Lewis, Texas hospital
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2019 7:55 AM CST
This undated photo shows Tinslee Lewis.   (Courtesy of Texas Right to Life via AP)

(Newser) – A family that begged a Texas judge to keep a 10-month-old baby on life support has gotten its wish—at least for a few more weeks. The AP reports Judge Sandee Bryan Marion extended an injunction Thursday to keep Tinslee Lewis on life support at Fort Worth's Cook Children's Medical Center through Jan. 2, to give the judge time to do more research so she can make a final ruling. Tinslee has been hospitalized there since her premature February birth and suffers from severe high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, and a rare heart defect. She needs full cardiac and respiratory support and is deeply sedated, though she's conscious, her family tells the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The hospital's ethics committee decided in October that nothing more could be done for Tinslee and that she should be taken off life support, jump-starting a legal battle between the medical center and Tinslee's family.

The hospital originally planned to take Tinslee off life support on Nov. 10, citing the state's "10-day rule": It says if a patient's family disagrees with doctors and a hospital's ethics committee on whether to keep life-sustaining treatment going, the hospital can cease that treatment if a new provider can't be found within 10 days. In a statement to CBS 11, Cook Children's says "more than 20" providers turned down Tinslee's case. The family's lawyer says Boston Children's Hospital is reconsidering its decision. One of the girl's doctors, who agrees her case is "hopeless," says she likely won't live six more months and her current condition is torturous: "She is in pain. Changing a diaper causes pain. Suctioning her breathing tube causes pain. Being on the ventilator causes pain." Tinslee's mother, however, says, "I want to be the one to make the decision for her." (Read more life support stories.)

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