Judge temporarily bans Texas hospital from taking infant off life support

A judge granted the family of a 9-month-old girl a temporary restraining order Nov. 10 to prevent physicians from taking her off life support at Fort Worth, Texas-based Cook Children's Medical Center, according to Fort Worth Star-Telegram. 

Tinslee Lewis was born prematurely with a rare heart defect called Ebstein anomaly, chronic lung disease and severe chronic pulmonary hypertension. She is sedated but conscious, using a ventilator to breathe, her family told Fort Worth Star-Telegram. 

Texas' 10-Day Rule allows hospitals to end life-sustaining treatment if a physician believes treatment is futile, even if the family objects. The family then has 10 days to transfer the patient elsewhere before treatment ends. The hospital told Tinslee's mother they were evoking the rule Oct. 31. On the evening of Nov. 11, a county judge granted Tinslee's family a temporary restraining order against the hospital, prohibiting physicians from ending treatment until Nov. 22. 

Hospital officials said they believe Tinslee's condition is irreversible and that she is likely in pain when not sedated, Winifred King, assistant vice president of public relations for Cook Children's HealthCare System, said in a statement cited by Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

"Removing this beautiful child from mechanical ventilation is a gut-wrenching decision for Cook Children's physicians and staff; however, we feel it is in her best interest to free her from artificial, medical intervention and suffering," Ms. King said.   

Tinslee's family said they want more time for her condition to improve and claim the hospital didn't fully inform them about her diagnosis.

The family and multiple advocacy groups are attempting to transfer the infant to another hospital or figure out a way to obtain the equipment necessary to take her home.

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