FORT WORTH, Texas - The mother of a child at the center of a life support dispute claimed Monday that her baby is acknowledging touch and conversation and deserves to live.
Doctors at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth maintain that Tinslee Lewis cannot recover from her current condition and is suffering from a . They want to end life-sustaining treatment for the 11-month-old girl, but a series of court rulings has kept life support going while the family searches for another facility to take care of the baby.
"She's not just asleep, like she acknowledges that we're there,” mom Trinity Lewis said Monday. “When you come into the room, when you touch her, talk to her she knows that we're there."
The Lewis family revoked the hospital’s ability to speak about Tinslee’s condition and treatment as the standoff continues to escalate.
Texas' Second Court of Appeals on Friday said the hospital can't remove Tinslee from life support until the court makes a final ruling in the case. A Tarrant County judge on Thursday denied the mother's request to issue an injunction in the case.
"The next thing that’s going to happen is we're going to file a brief informing the court as to why the statute is unconstitutional and why the trial court erred in not granting a temporary injunction,” said family attorney Joe Nixon. “Of course Cook will have an opportunity to respond.”
Tinslee Lewis on Christmas Day
The hospital reaffirmed its position that Tinslee should be allowed to pass away peacefully in a statement released before the family revoked speaking privileges. Tinslee has a rare heart defect and suffers from chronic lung disease and severe chronic high blood pressure.
"To keep her alive, doctors and nurses must keep her on a constant stream of painkillers, sedatives, and paralytics... Her body is tired. She is suffering. It’s time to end this cycle because, tragically, none of these efforts will ever make her better,” a hospital spokesperson said.
The family is now publically asking Cook Children's to perform a tracheotemy on Tinslee, something they believe will begin a transition in her care.
"A number of surgeons have told us this case is not a hopeless case, there are viable medical options that are reasonable for baby Tinslee. But in order for those to be options down the road, there are some things medically, like a tracheotomy as Trinity suggested, that would be necessary,” said Hannah Mehta of advocacy group Texas Fragile Kids.
Lewis showed a new photo of Tinslee taken on Christmas Day at the press conference.
"I know everybody has to pass away, but it's just my biggest fear is them pulling the plug on her without me not having, basically not being able to make the decision for her,” Lewis said.
The family has not been successful in finding another hospital or facility to take Tinslee for additional treatment.