September 27, 2023

Family fights to keep 11-month-old alive after judge rules to remove from life support

By: Isaiah Robinson

FORT WORTH, Texas – A Texas judge has ruled that a children’s hospital can remove an 11-month-old girl with a rare heart defect from life support.

The family of Tinslee Lewis is continuing to fight for her to remain in treatment at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas.

According to CNN, Tinslee was born prematurely at the hospital, where she has spent her entire life.  Since birth, she has been plagued with medical problems and has undergone three open-heart surgeries.

The infant has been treated for a severe heart defect called Ebstein’s anomaly, hypertension, lung disease and high blood pressure. She was placed on life support in July. The hospital began talks in September with the Lewis family about transferring her to another hospital or ending care. Staff argued that the baby is in pain and that “further medical intervention is not in Tinslee’s best interest.”

Texas Fourth District Court of Appeals Chief Justice Judge Sandee B. Marion issued a ruling Thursday to deny the request for an injunction filed by the family, which would have prevented the hospital from removing Tinslee from life support.

Joe Nixon, the lawyer on behalf of the Lewis family, filed an amended notice of appeal with the trial court shortly after the announcement of the judge’s ruling. The family is fighting to keep her alive.

Texas Right to Life, an anti-abortion group, said it was disappointed in the ruling, stating it, “not only disregarded the Constitution, but also sentenced an innocent 11-month-old baby to death like a criminal.”

Texas Right to Life issued a tweet about the about the news:

The hospital released a statement, which read, in part:

“While the Texas Right to Life group believes this case is about the constitutionality of a statute, we are only focused on what’s best for Tinslee. We ask that outside groups, even those who disagree with Cook Children’s approach, consider what is best for Tinslee now and give the family space to consider what truly is best for this baby, and allow our medical professionals space to care for her.”

The issue also drew the attention of elected officials, including Attorney General Ken Paxton, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.  They released a joint statement, calling the situation “complex and heartbreaking.”

“The state will continue to support Ms. Lewis’ exhaustion of all legal options to ensure that Tinslee is given every chance at life,” the statement read, noting the AG’s office will support an appeal. “The State of Texas is fully prepared to continue its support of Ms. Lewis in the Supreme Court if necessary.”

Cook Children’s will not take action for at least seven days.

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