A doctor agreed to perform a tracheostomy for Baby Tinslee Lewis, the 17-month old at the center of a legal dispute regarding Texas’ 10-Day Rule. The family’s lawyers filed a motion on Tuesday afternoon in a Tarrant County district court asking the court to require Cook Children’s Medical Center to grant emergency privileges to Dr. Glenn E. Green.
After reviewing her medical records, Dr. Green concluded that Baby Tinslee’s episodes of severe desaturation – what Cook’s has described as “dying spells” – may be attributable to underlying airway issues which are often treatable.
Dr. Green, a professor of otolaryngology at the University of Michigan, would evaluate Baby Tinslee for airway malacia * and perform a tracheostomy. Dr. Patrick Roughneen, a physician from Galveston, Texas, assessed Baby Tinslee in person, concurred with Dr. Green, and disagreed with the medical diagnosis of the doctors at Cook Children’s Medical Center.
In a declaration filed in the 48th Judicial District in Tarrant County, Dr. Roughneen stated that he saw “no evidence” of pulmonary hypertension [which the hospital says Baby Tinslee has].
Texas Right to Life, Protect TX Fragile Kids, and the Lewis family have worked tirelessly to fight for Baby Tinslee. As part of their efforts to help her, they asked Dr. Green to review Baby Tinslee’s medical records. There are no doctors in Dr. Green’s specialty and subspecialty at Cook Children’s Medical Center. Accordingly, Trinity Lewis, Baby Tinslee’s mother, asked Cook Children’s Medical Center to allow Dr. Green to evaluate Baby Tinslee and provide her with medical care.
The motion filed Tuesday asks the court to require Cook’s to allow Dr. Green to care for Baby Tinslee. Both doctors filed declarations with the court stating that the tracheostomy request was medically appropriate.
Dr. Roughneen said:
Baby T.L. should be treated no differently than any other child who has been on a ventilator this long. Tracheotomies are routinely performed for patients after 14-days on a ventilator. Baby T.L. has been on a ventilator for over 10 months. It is not within the standard realm of care to leave a patient on a ventilator this long and refuse a tracheostomy. The benefits of a tracheostomy versus a ventilator are decreased work of breathing, reduction in airway dead space, avoidance of tracheo-innominate fistula [a lethal complication of an indwelling tracheostomy tube]and management of pulmonary secretions. Hence there are very specific patient benefits to performing this procedure.
This news emphasizes what we’ve known all along:
1.) The narrative that Baby Tinslee is “a hopeless case” is completely false, and 2.) placing a countdown on patients cuts their lives short. There is hope for patients when families have time to seek alternate care. Cook Children’s planned to pull the plug on Baby Tinslee last November, stating no other doctors would care for her and that her death was imminent, but 248 days later, Tinslee has proven them wrong.
*Where weak cartilage in a child’s airways causes breathing problems.