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The Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth Texas can remove an 11-month-old baby from life support, despite her family’s objections, a judge ruled on Thursday, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
The family of the child, Tinslee Lewis, who has spent her entire life at the hospital after being born prematurely with severe medical conditions, is filing an emergency motion to stay, which, if given, would stop the hospital from removing Tinslee from life support while they appeal the case.
As the Texas Tribune notes, Tinslee has been treated for a severe heart defect, lung disease, and high blood pressure. She has already gone through three open-heart surgeries since being born. In July she was placed on life support.
The hospital has argued that prolonging Tinslee’s life is only increasing her suffering.
“Our medical judgment is that Tinslee should be allowed to pass naturally and peacefully rather than artificially kept alive by painful treatments. Even with the most extraordinary measures the medical team is taking, Tinslee continues to suffer,” the hospital said in a statement. “To keep her alive, doctors and nurses must keep her on a constant stream of painkillers, sedatives, and paralytics.”
“As a result, Tinslee is paralyzed at all times. She currently is suffering from severe sepsis, not uncommon when patients require deep sedation and chemical paralysis to maintain organ function,” the statement continues. “Even with medication and support, Tinslee has ‘dying events’ 2-3 times per day. When she is in distress, Tinslee crashes and aggressive medical intervention is immediately necessary, which causes even more pain.”
Tinslee’s family, however, believes that given more time, she will get better.
“I am heartbroken over today’s decision because the judge basically said Tinslee’s life is NOT worth living,” Tinslee’s mom, Trinity Lewis said in a press release issued by the Texas Right to Life, an anti-abortion group. “I feel frustrated because anyone in that courtroom would want more time just like I do if Tinslee were their baby. I hope that we can keep fighting through an appeal to protect Tinslee. She deserves the right to live. Please keep praying for Tinslee and thank you for supporting us during this difficult time.”
Lewis has also gained the support of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton, who released a joint statement, noting that the state “will continue to support Ms. Lewis’ exhaustion of all legal options to ensure that Tinslee is given every chance at life.”
“The State of Texas is fully prepared to continue its support of Ms. Lewis in the Supreme Court if necessary,” the statement added.