November 16, 2020

Hospital Appeals to U.S. Supreme Court to End Baby Tinslee Lewis's Life Support

Cook Children's Hospital in Texas filed an appeal with the Supreme Court of the United States on Nov. 10th to have the life support of one-year-old Tinslee Lewis removed against her family's' wishes.

The court battle regarding the hospital's ability to deny the toddler's treatment and let her die has lasted for most of Tinslee's life, but the fight has gone in her favor up to this point. In July, the Texas Second Court of Appeals ruled against the hospital. In August, the Supreme Court of Texas declined to hear Cook Children's Hospital's appeal.

Tinslee's family and the hospital are fighting over the constitutionality of Texas's "10-Day Rule," which allows a hospital to stop providing life-sustaining treatment to a patient if an ethics board approves and the hospital provides the family with 10 days to find another medical facility willing to take the patient.

Tinslee suffers from heart and lung problems that affect her ability to eat and breathe, so she relies on the hospital's machines to sustain her life.

The hospital describes Tinslee's experience as "ongoing daily agony," saying that she requires "deep sedation and paralysis" to "facilitate mechanical ventilation, decrease the pain caused by daily cares, and mitigate events that can lead to significant deterioration in her condition."

Simultaneously, Cook's Children's Hospital refuses to perform a tracheostomy, which is a standard medical procedure for any patient who is on a ventilator for an extended period of time. The hospital says it will only perform this procedure if Tinslee's mother would agree to sign a Do-Not-Resuscitate order for her daughter.

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