The Supreme Court of the United States rejected a preliminary plea of Cook Children’s Medical Center to pull the plug on Baby Tinslee Lewis against her mother’s will.
Baby Tinslee’s fight for her life began November 2019 when the Fort Worth hospital moved to end the child’s life against her mother’s will under the deadly Texas 10-Day Rule. Her court case struck a massive blow to the anti-Life statute in a Texas appeals court, and Cook Children’s sought to overturn the decision. Every higher court since, including now the U.S. Supreme Court, has prevented the hospital from unilaterally removing Tinslee’s life-sustaining treatment over her mother’s objection.
The opinion against the 10-Day Rule still stands, and the case will now return to the lower court for final adjudication on the merits.
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During trial, a judge will consider:
- Are the rights of Baby Tinslee being violated?
- Should a hospital have unilateral authority to withdraw life-sustaining medical treatment from a patient against the will of the patient/surrogate?
- Do patients have any due process rights in these situations?
- Is the 10-Day Rule of the Texas Advance Directives Act (Section 166.046 Health & Safety Code) unconstitutional?
The date of the trial has not yet been decided by the 48th District Court. If the district court rules in favor of Tinslee, the hospital will permanently be disallowed from removing the child’s ventilator and medical treatment against her mother’s will. Additionally, hospitals across Texas could no longer use the 10-Day Rule to hasten patients’ deaths. Texas Right to Life saw a massive increase in hospitals’ use of the 10-Day Rule during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Now, as the Texas Legislature convenes tomorrow for the 2021 legislative session, all eyes look to state lawmakers to abolish the countdown placed on patients’ lives. Today’s decision from the U.S. Supreme Court signals to legislators they should be extremely skeptical of the current law, just like the Second Court of Appeals, the governor, the attorney general, and dozens of disability rights and faith leaders. Texans should contact their state legislators here to end the deadly 10-Day Rule to protect patients like Baby Tinslee.