Tinslee Lewis Case Headed for Court of Appeals Next Week

Hearing to move forward Tuesday, Feb. 4

NBC 5 News

Oral arguments in the Tinslee Lewis appeal are now scheduled for next week.

Trinity Lewis, baby Tinslee's mother, has been awaiting a court decision as Cook Children's Medical Center planned to end the 11-month-old baby's life support after no other medical provider could be found. Doctors at Cook Children's in Fort Worth insist the child is in pain and will never recover and they want to remove her life support.

Lewis' family argues that they believe her condition can improve and they are seeking another hospital to provide her care. The child suffers from grave heart and lung problems.

The hearing at the Court of Appeals 2nd District of Texas is scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 4 and arguments will be made before a panel consisting of Justice Lee Gabriel, Justice J. Wade Birdwell and Justice Mike Wallach.

Each side will have 15 minutes to present their side and then an additional five minutes for rebuttal.

The hospital said the girl has lived her entire life on life support and that caring for her is causing moral distress, particularly among nurses, and that the girl is in such a fragile state that even a simple touch can trigger a dying event.

A newly filed appellate brief by Cook Children's argues that doctors and nurses caring for Tinslee Lewis should not be ignored and shares the opinions of some staffers, including a nurse who has cared for the girl since birth, who testified that it is "very emotionally difficult for [her] and for the nursing staff because we're inflicting painful interventions on her that we believe exacerbate her suffering for no good outcome.”

The hospital said nurses are notified in advance that they will be assigned to care for Lewis, so they may request a change in assignment. Many nurses refuse to be assigned to Lewis, because they "are uncomfortable in inflicting that kind of pain on her," according to the brief.

An injunction has been filed to block Cook Children's from removing the girl from life support. Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton have vowed to support Tinslee Lewis' family in their fight all the way to the United States Supreme Court, if necessary.

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