Attorneys for the family of a Fort Worth baby on life support have filed a motion to have a new doctor treat her.
One-year-old Tinslee Lewis was born with a rare heart defect. According to doctors at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, Lewis also suffers from chronic lung disease and severe chronic high blood pressure.
She has been in their care since her premature birth and has remained on life support for several months while at the center an ongoing legal dispute. The hospital has long maintained Lewis’ treatments were causing unnecessary pain and suffering without chances for long-term survival.
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“She’s in pain, and she’s suffering as the result of the things we’re doing for her to stay alive,” said Wini King with Cook Children’s at a past court hearing.
The new motion filed this week asked the court to require Cook Children’s Medical Center to grant emergency privileges to Dr. Glenn Green. According to his biography with the University of Michigan, Green is an associate professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery.
The filed motion states Trinity Lewis, Tinslee’s mother, “seeks to have Dr. Green perform a tracheostomy Baby T.L. for a condition known as malacia which would explain what Defendant has referred to as 'dying events.' It can be treated, in part, by the tracheostomy as well.”
Kimberlyn Schwartz with Texas Right to Life, which has advocated for Tinslee’s case, said the motion is proof her condition is not hopeless.
“It helps Tinslee be more transferable as a patient. It will be easier to move her to a step-down unit or palliative care for long-term care. She would not require an ICU setting if she has a tracheostomy,” Schwartz said. “Back in November when the hospital started the 10 days, they said there’s no other facilities that want to treat her. It’s a dead end. They also said her death was imminent, she was going to pass away very soon. Here we are 248 days later, and Tinslee has proven them wrong,”
The "10 days" refers to Texas’ 10-Day Rule, which is at the heart of the legal dispute. Under this rule, hospitals can end life-sustaining treatments for patients even if the family objects. The law stipulates that if the hospital's ethics committee agrees with doctors, treatment can be withdrawn after 10 days if a new provider can't be found to take the patient.
The filed motion also states Dr. Patrick Roughneen, a physician from Galveston, Texas, assessed Tinslee in person and disagreed with the medical diagnosis of the doctors at Cook Children’s Medical Center.
In a declaration filed in the 48th Judicial District in Tarrant County, Roughneen stated that he saw “no evidence” of pulmonary hypertension, according to a news release from Texas Right to Life.
Schwartz said there is no deadline on when a decision can be made on this latest motion. A spokesperson for Cook Children’s told NBC 5 they were unable to comment on the pending legal matters regarding Lewis’ case.