FORT WORTH, Texas - A judge on Thursday denied the extension of a restraining order keeping a North Texas baby on life support at Cook Children’s Medical Center.
Tinsley Lewis has been in the hospital’s intensive care unit since she was born in February. The 11-month-old girl has a rare, incurable heart defect and relies on a ventilator and a feeding tube.
The hospital said Tinslee has already undergone several complex surgeries to try to improve her condition but also suffers from chronic lung disease and severe chronic pulmonary hypertension.
Doctors now believe her condition is irreversible and that she is suffering. Cook Children’s officials said they have already reached out to more than a dozen other medical facilities around the country and all agreed with their assessment.
But Tinslee’s family believes she still has a fighting chance.
“It’s not fair,” her mother, Trinity Lewis, told FOX 4. “And I don’t feel as if it’s their right to take somebody’s life because they want to stop treating it.”
Attorney Joe Nixon represents Lewis. He spoke with FOX 4 by phone from Houston and described her reaction.
"She just got an order saying unless we appeal or do something, her child's going to die in a week,” Nixon said. “She's massively distraught."
The hospital's statement in wake of Thursdays' ruling addressed her condition in a stronger tone than previous updates.
"To keep her alive, doctors and nurses must keep her on a constant stream of painkillers, sedatives, and paralytics,” a hospital spokesperson said. “Her body is tired. She is suffering. It’s time to end this cycle because, tragically, none of these efforts will ever make her better."
Despite no reported progress in finding any other medical provider willing to care for their child, Tinslee’s family disagrees. The family's attorney maintains the Texas statute that gives doctors the authority to overrule a patient or patient's family's wishes is unconstitutional.
“No family in Texas should be faced with having to do what Trinity has had to do to keep her daughter alive,” Nixon said. “The statute should not exist."
Last month, a Tarrant County district court judge extended the temporary restraining order that was in place requiring Cook Children’s to continue caring for the baby. Chief Judge Sandee Marion from San Antonio said she needed more time to research and review the case.
Judge Marion announced her decision Thursday to deny the family’s request for a temporary injunction.
“After hearing the evidence and arguments of counsel, and after considering the briefs filed in this matter, the Court is of the opinion that the application should be denied,” she wrote.
During the hearing, the hospital said it would keep the baby on life support for seven more days so that her parents file an appeal or motion for emergency relief.
Nixon says they will file on Thursday a notice to appeal. He says if the hospital doesn't agree to continue with life support past the seven days while the appeal is pending, hey may file an emergency motion to ask the higher court to order them to.