A Texas judge granted the family of a 9-month-old baby girl a restraining order against a Texas hospital that planned to take the baby off of life support.
Texas law gives families 10 days to find a new hospital if they disagree with doctors’ suggestions of treatment and “pulling the plug” while on life support. According to CBS News, doctors at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth have been stopped from doing so in the case of Tinslee Lewis, who doctors planned on removing from the ventilator this past Sunday following the “10-day rule.”
Born prematurely, Tinslee not only has a rare heart defect but suffers from chronic lung disease and severe chronic high blood pressure. Since birth, she has been hospitalized and on a ventilator since July. Doctors say her condition is not just fatal, but that Tinslee is actually suffering.
Sunday, as said in the restraining order, the judge gave the family until November 22 to find a facility that will take her in, according to Kimberlyn Schwartz, spokeswoman for anti-abortion group Texas Right to Life, who began helping Tinslee’s family over the weekend.
“This is part of what makes this the most draconian statute of its kind in the nation. You’ve got 10 days – not even business days – and it’s inherently inadequate,” Texas Right to Life attorney Kassi Marks told the publication. “It’s a terrible, terrible law. We would hope that it would be repealed or declared unconstitutional and otherwise not utilized against vulnerable people like 9-month-old Tinslee.”
Under the Texas law, if doctors believe life-sustaining treatment should be stopped regardless of the family agrees or not, the issue can be taken to the hospital’s ethics committee. If the committee sides with doctors, the “10-day rule” can be applied. If the hospital nor the family can’t find a willing provider in those 10 days, treatment can be withdrawn unless a court grants an extension.
Sources at Cook Children’s says it has reached out to nearly 20 facilities around the country. However, none disagreed with the hospital’s assessment of Tinslee.
“There shouldn’t be a countdown placed on patients’ lives,” Schwartz believes. She continued to say that in 20 years of the law, Texas Right to Life has helped more than 400 families, noting it often takes “way longer” than 10 days to find a facility willing to accept a patient, she said.
“Don’t give the family just 10 days to navigate that complicated process. That’s almost impossible for an average family to do,” Schwartz stated.
She goes on saying the quality of life shouldn’t be the only consideration, “Morally, these decisions should be left with patients and families.”