Judge says Texas hospital can end life support for infant

A judge ruled Jan. 2 that Fort Worth, Texas-based Cook Children's Medical Center could end life-saving treatment for an 11-month-old infant, according to The New York Times.

Tinslee Lewis was born at Cook Children's 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 is suffering from severe sepsis, the NYT reports.

The hospital attempted to invoke Texas' "10-day rule," in November, which gives a family 10 days to transfer a patient after a hospital decides to end life-sustaining treatment. A judge ordered the infant be kept on life support until Dec. 10 and later extended the injunction into the new year. However, on Jan. 2, Tinslee's family's request for an injunction stopping the hospital from ending treatment was denied.

The family's lawyer, Joseph Nixon, told the NYT that he filed a notice of appeal and would file a motion for emergency relief Thursday afternoon. The hospital agreed not to end life support for a week, allowing Mr. Nixon time to file the motions. Mr. Nixon added that a team is still working to find another medical facility to care for Tinslee.

Cook Children's said it contacted over 20 facilities and specialists about continuing Tinslee's care, but none would accept the infant, according to the NYT. 

Sixteen Texas lawmakers cited Tinslee's case in a December letter to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, asking him to call lawmakers into session to repeal the 10-day rule. In November, Ken Paxton, the state's attorney general, filed a friend-of-the-court brief that said allowing the hospital to end life support violates the constitutional right to life.

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