Appeals court grants emergency motion to keep baby Tinslee Lewis on life support

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This undated photo provided by Texas Right to Life shows Tinslee Lewis. A new judge will consider whether a Texas hospital can take the 10-month-old girl off life support despite her family’s opposition after the impartiality of the previous judge was questioned. A temporary restraining order stopping Cook Children’s Medical Center from removing life-sustaining treatment for Tinslee Lewis was set to expire Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019. But after the removal last week of Tarrant County Juvenile Court Judge Alex Kim, a new hearing on the family’s request for a temporary injunction is now set for Thursday in Fort Worth. (Courtesy of Texas Right to Life via AP)

FORT WORTH, Texas (KETK) – The Texas Second Court of Appeals on Friday granted an emergency motion to stay a ruling that had allowed a Fort Worth hospital to remove life support from an infant against her family’s wishes.

The stay requires Cook Children’s Medical Center to keep Tinslee Lewis on life support while an appeal is pending, according to Texas Right to Life, a statewide anti-abortion group.

Tinslee was born in February with severe medical problems.

Cook Children’s officials had said Thursday that Texas Fourth District Court of Appeals Chief Justice Sandee B. Marion’s ruling would allow the hospital to make the most compassionate and medically appropriate decisions for the child as she struggles to survive.

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The law stipulates that if the hospital’s ethics committee agrees with doctors, treatment can be withdrawn after 10 days if a new provider can’t be found to take the patient.

Efforts to find another facility to take her have been unsuccessful. The hospital said it has reached out to more than 20 facilities. Texas Right to Life and Protect TX Fragile Kids have also been trying to find a facility to take her.

Tinslee has been at 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.

The hospital said in a statement Thursday that in order to keep the infant alive, she’s on a constant stream of painkillers, sedatives and paralytics. She currently has severe sepsis, which isn’t uncommon when patients require deep sedation and chemical paralysis, it said.

“Even with the most extraordinary measures the medical team is taking, Tinslee continues to suffer,” the hospital said.

The case has drawn the attention of Texas’ top officials. On Thursday, Governor Greg Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a joint statement in support of Tinslee’s mother and her efforts to keep the child on life support.

The two pledged in the statement that the state “will continue to support Ms. Lewis’s exhaustion of all legal options to ensure that Tinslee is given every chance at life.”

The two sent a letter Friday to the Second Court of Appeals that urged the court to grant an emergency stay until the family’s appeal could be resolved.

Paxton celebrated the news on Twitter, thanking the court and urging for prayers for Tinslee’s family Friday night.

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