Cook Children’s Fort Worth is slated to pull the plug on 9-month-old Tinslee Lewis against her mother’s will Sunday, November 10.
Baby Tinslee is a 9-month-old girl with congenital heart disease and is breathing with the assistance of a ventilator. She is sedated but conscious. Cook Children’s Fort Worth Hospital informed Tinslee’s mother, Trinity, on October 31 that they would pull the plug on her daughter against her directive in 10 days, scheduling her to die tomorrow, November 10, under the Texas 10-Day Rule. The hospital committee cited no physical health reason for their decision to seize Tinslee’s ventilator against her mother’s will but instead cited their own “quality of life” judgments. Now, Baby Tinslee’s mother is in a race against the clock to save her daughter. Texas Right to Life provided a lawyer to defend the patient after the family contacted us for help, but the Texas 10-Day Rule legally allows this form of euthanasia.
The 10-Day Rule is a provision in the Texas Advance Directives Act (Chapter 166.046 of the Texas Health & Safety Code) that allows a hospital ethics committee to withdraw basic life-sustaining care, like a ventilator or dialysis, from a patient against his expressed will, his advance directive, or the instruction of his surrogate decision-maker. Ten days after informing the patient or surrogate of the committee’s decision, the hospital can remove basic life-sustaining care from a patient.
Committees can withdraw care for any reason and the patient cannot appeal the decision. Even if the patient is conscious, coherent, and actively requests to stay alive, the 10-Day-Rule allows the hospital to overrule the patient’s will.
Now exemplified by Tinslee Lewis, the Texas 10-Day Rule forces everyday Texans to race against the clock to save their loved ones.