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Temporary restraining order prevents hospital from taking 9-month-old girl off life support

Tinslee was born in February with congenital heart issues, a spokesperson said, and relies on a ventilator and feeding tube.

Update 6:09 p.m. Sunday with statements from the family. 

The family of 9-month-old Tinslee Lewis has been granted a temporary restraining order that will protect the baby from being taken off life support.

According to a family spokesperson, the restraining order was issued Sunday afternoon by a Tarrant County Judge.

"It was a big relief, I’ve been running around all week trying to get help until Sunday. And then I finally got what I’ve been praying for," Tinslee's mother, Trinity Lewis, said during a news conference. 

Tinslee was going to be taken off life support against her mother's wishes.

"I thought that they were going to pull the plug on my baby. I didn’t think that she was going to still be here today. And that’s what I’m grateful for,” Trinity Lewis said. 

The baby was born in February with congenital heart issues, a spokesperson said, and relies on a ventilator and feeding tube. Tinslee's family wishes to keep her alive.

"If that machine is giving her that smidgen [of hope], don’t take it away," said relative Beverly Winston. "That’s our baby, and we want to give her all the chances there are."

The restraining order is in place until a hearing that is scheduled on Nov. 22. 

"We will continue care as we have for the past nine months," Cook Children's Hospital said in a written statement. 

Related: Click here to read a statement from Texas Right to Life

Advance Directives Act:

Before the temporary restraining order was granted, Cook Children's Hospital in Fort Worth was going to remove her life support under Texas's '10-Day-Rule' or the Advance Directives Act, a spokesperson said. 

The state law allows hospitals to stop life-sustaining treatment that doctors deem futile. Families are given ten days to transfer their loved one.  

Cook Children's invoked that law on October 31, according to the spokesperson.

It does not appear Tinslee's family had been able to transfer her to another location as of Saturday. 

Response from Cook Children's:

Cook Children's released a statement shortly before 2 p.m. Sunday, saying the hospital staff had done everything they could to help her. 

Below is the full statement: 

Tinslee Lewis is a beautiful baby who has captured the hearts of many at Cook Children’s since her premature birth nine months ago. She was born with a rare heart defect called an Ebstein’s anomaly and has undergone several complex surgeries at Cook Children’s in an effort to improve her heart function. Further complicating matters, she also suffers from chronic lung disease and severe chronic pulmonary hypertension.  Due to these complications, she has spent her entire life hospitalized in Cook Children’s intensive care unit. She has required artificial respiratory support throughout that time, and has been consistently on a ventilator since July.

In the last several months, it’s become apparent her health will never improve. Despite our best efforts, her condition is irreversible, meaning it will never be cured or eliminated. Without life-sustaining treatment, her condition is fatal. But more importantly, her physicians believe she is suffering.

To maintain the delicate balance necessary to sustain Tinslee’s life, and to prevent her from pulling out the lines that are connected to the ventilator, doctors have had to keep her constantly paralyzed and sedated. While Tinslee may sometimes appear alert and moving, her movements are the result of being weaned off of the paralyzing drugs. We believe Tinslee is reacting in pain when she’s not sedated and paralyzed.

Cook Children’s has made heroic efforts to treat Tinslee’s condition, all while being very transparent with her family regarding her poor prognosis.  Despite those extraordinary efforts, Tinslee’s condition has not improved.  At the request of Tinslee’s family, we have reached out to nearly 20 facilities across the country to see if any would be willing to accept Tinslee as a patient. The facilities include:

  • Texas Children’s
  • Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital
  • Dell Children’s
  • Dallas Children’s
  • Medical City Dallas
  • Children’s Medical Center Oklahoma City
  • Children’s Hospital of Atlanta
  • St. Louis Children’s
  • Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Johns Hopkins
  • Methodist Hospital San Antonio
  • University Hospital San Antonio
  • Boston Children’s
  • Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles
  • Arkansas Children’s
  • C.S. Mott Children’s Michigan
  • LeBonheur Children’s Memphis
  • Rady Children’s
  • Children’s Hospital San Antonio CHRISTUS

All have said our assessment is correct and they feel there is nothing more they can provide to help improve this precious child’s life.

A team of Cook Children’s doctors, nurses and staff have given their all to help Tinslee. While we believe every child’s life is sacred, we also believe that no child should be sentenced to a life of pain. Removing this beautiful child from mechanical ventilation is a gut-wrenching decision for Cook Children’s physicians and staff, however, we feel it is in her best interest to free her from artificial, medical intervention and suffering.

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