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Cook Children's lawyers push for ruling soon due to 'daily agony' for Tinslee Lewis

Court documents say Tinslee can't eat solid food, has one to two teeth and can't cry due to the medicine and treatment that the hospital is court-ordered to continue
Credit: Courtesy
Tinslee Lewis

Attorneys for Cook Children's Medical Center are asking the Supreme Court of Texas to make a ruling soon because the health condition of 1-year-old Tinslee Lewis continues to worsen, according to a supplement to an emergency motion filed Tuesday.

Tinslee has been hospitalized since birth with grave lung and heart problems require her to be hooked up to machines to breathe and eat.

The hospital wants to end care.

Doctors and nurses in the court documents say Tinslee cannot eat solid food, has one to two teeth and cannot cry due to the medicine and treatment that Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth has been court-ordered to continue.

The documents hope to expedite the review process from the Supreme Court of Texas because of Tinslee's "ongoing, daily agony."

Tinslee has required deep sedation and chemical paralysis for over a year to "facilitate mechanical ventilation, decrease the pain caused by daily cares, and mitigate events that can lead to significant deterioration in her condition," the documents said.

"Since the temporary injunction hearing in December 2019, T.L.’s suffering has only increased, as her incurable disorders, combined with the effects of forced paralysis for months on end, have ravaged her small body," the documents said.

One nurse describes how Tinslee cannot cry, but when she is touched she jolts with her eyes wide and is panicked, anxious and agitated, according to the court documents. He has cared for her since birth and says he always talks to her when he cares for her.

"The first thing I say is always, 'I’m sorry,' because I know I am causing her pain by touching her," the nurse said in court documents. "Tears run down her cheeks, but due to the paralytics she is on, her face cannot contort, and she cannot actively cry. If her pain persists, we give her additional medication to try and alleviate this discomfort."

Her medical doses are "astronomically high" for a pediatric patient, the doctor says. She has increased her tolerance of medication over time and "still she sometimes suffers breakthrough pain."

Tinslee's "life is full of misery, pain, discomfort, and loneliness," the doctor said. "She lies in her hospital bed day in and day out with very little interaction from family. The CICU team has become her family, and we experience significant distress in watching this small toddler suffer daily."

Tinslee is isolated and alone 99% of the time, except for medical staff, the court documents said.

"When I perform a routine neurological assessment, T.L.’s pupils are reactive but she cannot track and follow movement," the nurse said.

Tinslee has bronchiectasis, which is the destruction of some of the airway passages in the lungs; kidney damage, abnormal renal function and her limbs are contracted.

"She cannot recover from these disorders and has no chance of long-term survival," her primary doctor, Dr. Jay Duncan says. "Her medical problems and daily suffering, however, have only increased since last year."

Her stomach is the size of a bowling ball because it is swollen with fluid.

Because of her treatment, Tinslee has never eaten solid food and has not developmental milestones like an average baby. As a result of not eating food, her teeth have not erupted normally, the court documents said.

Back in July, the Second Court of Appeals granted a temporary injunction to keep 17-month-old Tinslee Lewis alive in Fort Worth.

The move reversed a lower court decision that denied the mother's request for a temporary injunction to keep Tinslee on her life-sustaining treatment.

The court's opinion says a lower court should grant the mother's injunction pending "a final trial on the merits consistent with this opinion."

The decision is another step in the legal battle between the hospital and Tinslee's family regarding the continuance of her medical treatment.

In July, attorneys filed a motion to request a new doctor to come to Cook Children's to treat Tinslee, after saying he reviewed her medical records and believes her condition is treatable.

Tinslee will be 2 years old in February.

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