With hospital poised to halt 9-month-old girl’s life support, family wins reprieve

Health

This undated photo provided by Texas Right to Life shows Tinslee Lewis. / AP

(CBS News) – A Texas family that disagrees with a Fort Worth hospital’s plan to take a 9-month-old girl off life support has been given more time to find a facility to take her. Texas Right to Life, which represents Tinslee Lewis’ family, said a judge Tuesday extended a temporary restraining order against Cook Children’s Medical Center until Dec. 10. The hospital didn’t immediately comment.

“We praise God for this extension of time, which grants Tinslee more than a month of life after the hospital was initially set to pull the plug on the baby on November 10,” Texas Right to Life said in a statement.

Doctors planned to remove Tinslee from life support Nov. 10 after invoking Texas’ “10-day rule,” which can be employed when a family disagrees with doctors on discontinuing life-sustaining treatment. Treatment can be withdrawn if a new provider can’t be found in that time.

“This is part of what makes this the most draconian statute of its kind in the nation. You’ve got ten days – not even business days – and it’s inherently inadequate,” Texas Right to Life attorney Kassi Marks told CBS DFW. “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 We would hope that it would be repealed or declared unconstitutional and otherwise not utilized against vulnerable people like 9-month-old Tinslee.”

The hospital has said that since July, Tinslee has been on a ventilator and a machine that replaces the function of the heart and lungs.

CBS DFW reports that earlier during the 2019 legislative session, a bill to extend the 10-day rule to 45 days was proposed – but didn’t pass. Advocates now want the Texas Supreme Court to consider a case challenging the statute or for Governor Abbott to call a special session to address the issue.

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