By Kim Schwartz, Texas Right to Life
New court documents filed Thursday reveal Baby Tinslee Lewis, the two-year-old fighting for her life against the Texas 10-Day Rule, is improving. Pictures, video, and sworn affidavits prove that Tinslee is completely awake, taking occupational therapy, and being weaned off pain medication.
“[Tinslee’s] doctors have consistently told Trinity that she is doing better than they expected. And [Tinslee] has improved,” said the motion from the Lewis’ lawyers. Trinity, Tinslee’s mother, stated that the hospital sits Tinslee “up in a wheelchair most days.” She is not stiff, no longer nasally intubated, and has been weaned off paralytics.
Tinslee became the center of international media attention in November 2019 when Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth sought to pull the plug on the then-nine-month-old child against her mother’s will.
This is legal under the Texas 10-Day Rule (Chapter 166.046 of the Texas Health and Safety Code). The law allows a hospital ethics committee to withdraw basic life-sustaining care, like a ventilator or dialysis, from a patient against her expressed will, her advance directive, or the instruction of her surrogate decision-maker.
Ten days after informing the patient or surrogate of the committee’s decision, the hospital can remove basic life-sustaining care from a patient. Committees can withdraw care for any reason and the patient cannot appeal the decision. Even if the patient is conscious, coherent, and actively requests to stay alive, the 10-Day-Rule allows the hospital to overrule the patient’s will.
Baby Tinslee’s 10-day countdown was set to expire November 10, 2019. Pro-Life attorneys secured a temporary restraining order to protect her life. Since then, Tinslee’s legal fight has moved up and down the court system, with even the Supreme Court of the United States rejecting Cook Children’s pleas to end her life. A trial on the merits of the case has not yet been set.
Texas Right to Life Director of Media and Communication responded to Thursday’s news: “Tinslee’s life is a miracle and she proves that every day! Look at this evidence and see for yourself how she is improving.”
This evidence 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. Cook Children’s planned to pull the plug on Baby Tinslee in November 2019 and stated under oath that she would certainly die by May 2020. Now, 543 days after the countdown imposed by the 10-Day Rule expired, Tinslee has proven them wrong.