NPR for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Mother Of Texas Baby On Life Support Talks Amid Court Battle

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

A woman awaiting a court decision in her battle against a Texas hospital’s plan to end life-sustaining treatment for her 11-month-old daughter spoke out Monday after revoking the medical center’s permission to talk about her child’s treatment.

“This situation takes away my job as a mother and lets other people who don’t even know her decide whether her life is worth living,” Trinity Lewis said during a news conference outside the hospital. She says she doesn’t believe her daughter is suffering.

Doctors at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth insist Tinslee Lewis is in pain and will never recover. They had planned to remove Tinslee from life support Nov. 10 after invoking the state’s “10-day rule” thatcan 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 The law stipulates that if the hospital’s ethics committee agrees with doctors, treatment can be withdrawn after 10 days if a new provider can’t be found to take the patient.

Texas’ Second Court of Appeals on Friday saidthe hospital can’t remove Tinslee from life support until the court makes a final ruling in the case. In a lower court in Tarrant County on Thursday, a judge denied the mother’s requestto issue an injunction in the case.

“I know that my daughter’s medical needs are complex but I am praying for someone to give her a chance,” Lewis said at the news conference, which was organized by Texas Right to Life, an anti-abortion group, and Protect TX Fragile Kids, a group made up of parents of medically fragile children.

Tinslee has been at Cook Children’s since her premature birth on Feb. 1. The hospital has said she has a rare heart defect and suffers from chronic lung disease and severe chronic high blood pressure. The hospital has said she has been on a ventilator since going into respiratory arrest in early July and requires full respiratory and cardiac support, deep sedation and to be medically paralyzed.

Tinslee Lewis
Credit Lewis family/Texas Right to Life / Via Associated Press
Via Associated Press
Tinslee Lewis on Dec. 25, 2019.

At a hearing last month, Dr. Jay Duncan, one of Tinslee’s physicians, testified that the girl is in pain and that treatment was no longer benefiting her.

Lewis said the hospital is no longer allowed to speak to the media about Tinslee. A hospital spokeswoman said they were informed Friday that permission to speak about the case was revoked.

Efforts to find another facility to take the girl have been unsuccessful. The hospital said it has reached out to more than 20 facilities. Hannah Mehta of Protect TX Fragile Kids said their search for another facility is ongoing.