Trinity Lewis is embroiled in the fight of her life involving her 11-month-old daughter Tinslee Lewis, who is currently on life support.
Tinslee was born prematurely in February 2019 and suffers from Ebstein’s anomaly, a congenital heart defect. She’s been on life support since her birth at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Tinslee has had numerous surgeries since birth to reverse her condition.
In late October, hospital ethics committee members told Trinity they were going to instruct doctor’s to take the baby off of life support, spurring a series of legal reactions filed by Trinity, followed by legal injunctions taken up by the hospital. The action is justified under Texas law, which will allow for hospitals to make the decision in spite of what the family or legal guardian responsible requests. The family is then given 10 days to find another hospital to transfer to before care is suspended.
It is a complicated case with discussions surrounding patient’s rights, parent’s rights and the Hippocratic Oath, a tenant that binds doctors to promise and promote ethical care and response to their patients.
Last week an appeals court reversed a Texas judge’s decision, allowing Trinity to keep Tinslee on life support at Cook Children’s Medical Center.
“I want to be the one to make the decision for her,” Trinity told The Associated Press.
Trinity argues that her baby deserves a fighting chance, while hospital administrators say Tinslee is in pain because she’s on a machine that replaces the function of her heart and lungs, and is also on a ventilator, NBC News reports. The hospital had previously filed that Tinslee is “artificially kept alive” and “should be allowed to pass naturally and peacefully,” according to ABC News.
“Tinslee, she’s doing good,” Lewis said. “She’s been awake. They started medicine for her lungs … so her lungs have been more clear for her to breathe. So she’s been breathing over the ventilator. She’s at 30% on her ventilator.”
“I fully believe that Tinslee’s life is in God’s hands and that she deserves a fair and fighting chance at life, however long God has for her,” she said at a news conference in early January.
“My biggest priority is getting Tinslee appropriate care so that I can make the best decision for my baby,” Lewis said. “This situation takes away from my job as a mother and lets other people who don’t even know her decide whether her life is worth living.”
Trinity’s argument has garnered the attention of right-to-life activists and protests and also has the backing of the state’s attorney general Ken Paxton and Governor Greg Abbott.