Court reverses ruling, Texas hospital must now keep infant on life support

In a reversal of a Jan. 2 ruling that Fort Worth, Texas-based Cook Children's Medical Center could end life-saving care for an infant, the hospital must now continue treatment for the 11-month-old girl while an appeals court reviews the case, CNN reports.

Tinslee Lewis was born with a rare heart defect called Ebstein anomaly, chronic lung disease and severe chronic pulmonary hypertension. She requires full respiratory and cardiac support, along with deep sedation to keep her medically paralyzed. Cook Children's has also said the infant has severe sepsis, CNN reports. 

An appeals court Jan. 2 denied a motion filed by the Lewis family that would've stopped the hospital from removing the girl from life support. However, another state appeals court ruled Jan. 3 that the hospital must keep Tinslee on life support, Joe Nixon, the Lewis family's attorney, told reporters.

The family is searching for a physician willing to perform a tracheotomy on the infant, Trinity Lewis, the girl's mother, said Jan. 6. She also told reporters her daughter's condition was improving.

Cook Children's must now treat Tinslee until the courts make a final decision, Mr. Nixon said. The hospital has cared for the infant her entire life and has reached out to over 20 facilities in search of a provider to take over the infant's care, Winifred King, a hospital spokesperson, said. Other hospitals agreed with Cook Children's assessment and said there was nothing more they could do, she said. Cook Children's endorsed the Jan. 2 ruling, Ms. King said, because it restored medical staff's ability "to make the most compassionate and medically appropriate decisions for Tinslee as she struggles in pain to survive each day."

Hannah Mehta, the executive director of Protect TX Fragile Kids, said at a Jan. 6 news conference she has spoken to surgeons who say a tracheotomy is a viable treatment option for Tinslee. Ms. Mehta claimed potential physicians were given information that was over three months old, making it hard to reach an informed decision, CNN reports.

The family's legal brief is due Jan. 23, Mr. Nixon said. Cook Children's will file its own brief.

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