Tinslee Lewis, the baby girl who was nearly killed by a Texas hospital who tried to disconnect her life support on the basis of the state’s 10-day rule, has defied all the odds and has been allowed to go home with her family.
Born in 2019, Tinslee was premature and fighting a rare heart defect which causes her heart to press against her lungs. She therefore needed a ventilator to breathe — but Cook Children’s Hospital wanted to let Tinslee die. They invoked the 10-day rule, meaning her family would have just 10 days to find another hospital willing to take her, or life support would be withdrawn. Trinity Lewis, Tinslee’s mother, has been fighting for her daughter’s life ever since then, with the help of numerous disability rights and pro-life groups.
Though Tinslee is not brain dead, the hospital originally seemed to feel that her life wasn’t valuable enough to save. “She cannot move. She cannot cuddle. She is rarely, if ever, held,” a legal brief from the hospital stated. “The physician who has been treating her since birth has never seen her smile.” The brief also claimed Tinslee’s treatment for her condition was painful for her, and that her condition will not improve; therefore, it is not fair for the staff to have to continue to treat her.
By 2021, the hospital was still fighting to remove Tinslee from life support, a request with which the Supreme Court disagreed. Yet despite the insistence from doctors that Tinslee’s condition would never improve, it has — enough that she was able to go home.
“Tinslee was discharged on Thursday, April 7,” Texas Right to Life said in an e-mail to Live Action News. “She’s on home health now and is doing great! She shakes her head ‘no’ when she’s annoyed and when her grandpa leans over and asks her for a kiss, she kisses him on the cheek. Cook Children’s worked with the family to improve Tinslee’s health to the point that she no longer needs a hospital setting for care. She turned three years old on February 1.”
Though Cook Children’s fought hard to end Tinslee’s life, she also managed to receive the health care she needed to give her the strength to improve — which only further highlights that the 10-Day Rule is not only barbaric, but unnecessary. It is impossible to predict whether or not a patient’s condition will ever improve, especially when that patient is merely disabled, and not terminally ill.
“We are so thankful for everyone who pulled together to help my daughter, including the doctors at Cooks, Texas Right to Life, our attorneys at Daniels & Tredennick law firm, Joe Nixon, Kassi Marks, and Protect Texas Fragile Kids,” Trinity Lewis said in a statement provided by Texas Right to Life. “We have been cherishing and enjoying Tinslee being home, and we appreciate everyone who stepped up to help in any way as well.”
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