FORT WORTH, Texas — This story has been updated with a statement from Cook Children's Medical Center.
The fight to keep a 10-month old child alive will continue on after a judge in Fort Worth asked for more time to decide the fate of Tinslee Lewis Thursday evening.
Lewis has been hospitalized with grave lung and heart problems since birth, triggering a legal battle between Cook Children's Medical Center and her family regarding the continuance of care.
Both sides began testifying in a Fort Worth courtroom Thursday morning after the family filed a restraining order against Cook Children's last month to keep Lewis alive.
Judge Sandee Marion ended the day saying she would make a decision in the case on or before Jan. 2, 2020, extending the time Tinslee should remain on life support.
The 10-month-old girl's illness requires her to be hooked up to machines so she can breathe and eat.
In late October, Cook Children’s Medical Center determined that their efforts to help Tinslee were only causing the baby more suffering and pain, and they told the family they’d be removing life-sustaining treatment in 10 days in accordance with state law.
That law was signed in 1999 and allows hospitals to stop giving care, even at a patient's or loved one's objection if a hospital ethics committee votes to do so.
The hospital allows 10 days before they stop care for the patient so they or their family can find another hospital to accept them.
That has been hard to arrange since more than 20 medical facilities Cook Children's has reached out to will not accept Tinslee.
But the baby’s mother, Trinity Lewis, said she wanted to be the one to make the decision for her child.
During a more than eight-hour hearing, the judge heard from six witnesses, the majority of which were called by the plaintiffs.
Trinity Lewis took the stand, telling the judge how her baby likes having her nails painted, enjoys watching "Trolls" and loves getting her hair washed but not brushed.
“I want to be the one to make that decision for her,” Lewis said about her daughter's medical treatment.
But Dr. Jay Duncan who cares for Tinslee at Cook Children's testified that doctors have done as much as they can.
“There are no more treatments we can do to Tinslee for improvement,” he testified. “She is in pain.”
Representatives from Project TX Fragile Kids said there are at least a couple hospitals that are still considering treating Tinslee.
Lewis' attorney, Joe Nixon, argued that the state law allowing Cook Children's to stop care is unconstitutional.
"Criminals on death row get more rights than Tinslee does," Nixon said. "How can we support a statute that provides no due process? Specifically within 10 days?"
An attorney for Cook Children's responded to that argument saying that medical professionals took a Hippocratic Oath to not cause harm and that they are violating it by caring for Tinslee.
He further added that some nurses are refusing to treat Tinslee and that others asked to be notified about a shift involving her ahead of time so they can request a different schedule.
The constitutionality debate in the courtroom could wind up being a landmark case for Texas.
Attorney General Ken Paxton has taken interest in the case and Tinslee's argument.
Representatives from Paxton's office testified in court about the issue before the judge extended the restraining order.
One said that due process was a major right and that the statute doesn't allow anyone to be heard, and that negotiating power is not on the patient's side.
Cook Children's released the following statement Thursday night:
Cook Children’s has been dedicated to providing the very best care for Tinslee since her arrival to our hospital 10 months ago. For the entirety of her life, our staff has diligently provided compassionate, round-the-clock, intensive care and attention. We will continue to provide this precious baby the same level of care as we have for her entire life.
We all share the same sense of concern for Tinslee and her family as they face a very difficult situation. Our doctors and nurses have done everything humanly possible to save Tinslee’s life. Currently, any care we provide, including feeding, bathing and providing treatments and medication, can cause her little body to experience a medical crisis, which causes even more intervention and pain for her.
We have reached out to more than 20, well-respected healthcare facilities and pediatric cardiac specialists who have the specialized training to continue Tinslee’s care, and upon their review, each medical team declined to accept her as a patient. Sadly, she shows no signs of improvement and there are no treatment options available to help her get better.
We would ask that outside groups, even those who disagree with Cook Children’s approach, consider what is best for Tinslee now and give the family space to consider what truly is best for this baby, and allow our medical professionals' space to care for her.