A North Texas District Court judge’s restraining order saving the life of a 9-month-old baby from a hospital was extended last week. His action was necessary and just, but when will the Texas Legislature act so no other family has to face this type of hospital horror?
Tinslee Lewis, born with congenital heart disease, is currently at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth and relies on a ventilator to live. On October 31, despite the objections of her mother, the hospital announced it would remove Tinslee’s ventilator on November 10, killing her.
No reasons relating to bodily health were given, only a vague “quality-of-life” argument.
This action is legal under Texas’ unjust 10-day rule, which allows a hospital committee to end “life-sustaining care” even if the patient, or his or her surrogate, objects. The law also overrides a duly executed medical power of attorney or advance directive from the patient.
Tinslee’s life was temporarily spared when Judge Alex Kim of the 323rd District Court approved a temporary restraining order filed by lawyers from Texas Right to Life on November 10—the day she was scheduled to die.
However, the hospital dispatched its lawyers to try and force Judge Kim into recusal, launching a series of draconian subpoenas in an attempt to frame Kim as being partial.
Though it’s unclear if the subpoenas worked, Judge Kim was ultimately kicked off of the case by out-of-town Judge David Peeples of Bexar County.
Out-of-town Judge Peeples only had authority to approve the motion for Judge Kim’s recusal because the overseer of all Tarrant County judges, Judge David Evans, recused himself and authorized Peeples to make the decision.
Following Kim’s recusal, on December 6, Texas’ Supreme Court decided Peeples should be the one to preside over the hearing on Kim’s restraining order; three days later, however, they reassigned the case to Chief Justice Sandee Marion of the Fourth District Court of Appeals.
On December 12, Judge Marion extended Judge Kim’s order of protection for Tinslee and will decide on or before January 2, 2020 whether or not to issue a new protective order.
This extension proves Judge Kim’s order was necessary and that the hospital was unreasonable in not agreeing to a delay pending litigation.
But Tinslee’s fight isn’t over. In fact, the fight of protecting every Texan from the unjust 10-day-rule won’t be over until the Texas Legislature acts. No family should ever have to fear a hospital ending the life of their loved ones against their will.
When will Gov. Greg Abbott call a special session to address this and other conservative agendas in the Lone Star Agenda left undone during the purple session? When will Texas Republicans’ act in defense of the lives of all Texans?