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Mother Files Appeal To Keep Baby On Life Support, Gov. Abbott And Ken Paxton Back Family

Trinity Lewis
Jamie Stengle
Associated Press
Trinity Lewis at a news conference Jan. 6 outside Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth where her daughter Tinslee is on life support.

Trinity Lewis, mother of the 11-month-old baby on life support at Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth, has filed an appeal to continue medical support for the child.

The hospital had initially planned to remove baby Tinsley Lewis from life support in November after invoking the Texas Advanced Directives Act. That state rule can be employed when a family disagrees with doctors who say life-sustaining treatment should be stopped.

Cook Children’s Hospital has reached out to 20 facilities across the county. None have agreed to treat Tinslee Lewis.

Dr. Tim Fine with Baylor Medical Center in Dallas is one of the original authors of the Texas Advanced Directives Act.

"They've all looked at the records, they've looked at whatever tests Cook showed them and said yeah there is nothing else we can do,” Fine said. “For me, that gives me some comfort, that Cook Childrens has done all that should be done."

The Lewis family's lawyer, Joe Nixon, filed the appeal Thursday in Fort Worth’s Second Court of Appeals. Nixon is also a former Republican representative in the Texas House.

"I've always maintained that the culprit in this case is the statute,” Nixon said. “The hospital is providing life sustaining care, the problem in this case is that there is a statue, which allows a hospital instead of a mother, to make a decision on when life sustaining care will be terminated."

Friday, Attorney General Ken Paxton and Gov. Greg Abbott filed a friend-of-the-court brief, urging the court to reverse a lower court’s order and grant Lewis’ family a temporary injunction until the case is resolved. 

“Life is the first and ultimate constitutionally protected interest, and this case is certainly a matter of life or death,” Paxton said in a statement. “This baby girl, like all Texans, has the rights to life and due process.”

Tinslee Lewis has been hospitalized since her premature birth. Doctors do not believe she'll recover from a rare heart defect and other medical conditions.

NPR's Wade Goodwyn contributed to this report.