Texas Attorney General Joins Legal Battle to Stop Hospital from Trying to Remove Baby Tinslee Lewis’ Life Support

Tinslee Lewis, a 9-month-old baby girl at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas. | Screengrab/ABC 13 KTRK-TV

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton joined a legal battle Friday in defense of a 9-month-old girl who’s receiving treatment at Cook Children’s Medical Center which is seeking to remove the baby’s life support.

Paxton issued a friend-of-the-court brief in support of baby Tinslee Lewis and her family three days after a judge renewed a temporary restraining order that prohibits Cook Children’s in Fort Worth from removing a feeding tube and ventilator, and gives the family until Dec. 10 to find a hospital elsewhere in the U.S. that will admit the baby and continue her treatment.

In a statement to The Christian Post on Friday, Paxton said, “One of the core principles provided by the U.S. Constitution is that no person should be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.”

At issue is the Texas Advance Directives Act, a law that, among other things, requires hospitals to give families 10 days’ notice before ending life-sustaining treatment for patients suffering from a terminal illness or who doctors believe have little or no chance of survival. With approval from a medical or ethics committee, doctors are allowed to end treatment in these cases.

Once a hospital has decided to discontinue treatment, families are given 10 days to find a different hospital that is willing to admit their loved one.

If families are unable to find a hospital and transfer the patient by the 10th day, all treatments are withdrawn unless a judge intervenes with a court order requiring the hospital to continue life-sustaining treatment.

The law was passed in 1999 and signed by then-Gov. George W. Bush “as a compromise between the medical community and pro-life and disability rights groups,” The Houston Law Review journal notes.

“The consensus at the time of passage did not last long because pro-life and disability rights groups grew concerned with how doctors and hospitals implemented the statute’s procedures. It became clear that the statute provided doctors with absolute immunity yet provided only ‘very weak procedural protections for patients’,” the journal adds.

Since then, the journal notes that the Texas Legislature has considered over 25 bills aimed at amending the law, but have enacted only two.

Paxton described the law as “unconstitutional,” adding that it “infringes on patients’ right to life and does not allow patients and their families sufficient notice and the opportunity to be heard before physicians override the rights of their patients.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Melissa Barnhart