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Fort Worth Hearing Underway To Decide If Baby Tinslee Should Remain On Life Support

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — The battle over a whether a baby should remain on life support continues in a North Texas court today, as the family of 10-month-old Tinslee Lewis fights to keep her alive.

Tinslee has been hospitalized at Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth since her premature birth in February. She was born with Ebstein's anomaly, a rare heart defect that has left her with chronic lung disease and severe high blood pressure.

The hospital wanted to invoke Texas' "10-day rule" last month -- the law gives families 10 days to find a new hospital if they disagree with doctors who decide to take a patient off life support -- but baby Tinslee's family won a temporary restraining in that forced the hospital to keep her on life support until December 10.

Tinslee Lewis
Tinslee Lewis (CBS 11 News)

In court Thursday, Tinslee's mother, Trinity Lewis, testified that her daughter is conscious and has favorite nurses, enjoys any toy with lights, and that her favorite movie is "Trolls".

The chair of the state ethics committee also took the stand and talked about the process of determining that Tinslee should be removed from life support. He told the court that more than 20 people listened to doctors and family members before siding with physicians at Cook Children's.

The judge who issued the earlier restraining order, Alex Kim, was recently removed from the case after questions rose about his impartiality and the steps he took to assign himself the case. Judge Sandee Bryan Marion will now oversee the proceedings and decide if Tinslee's family should receive an injunction against the hospital requiring that life-sustaining treatment be continued.

Texas Right to Life and Protect TX Fragile Kids, a pair of non-profit groups working with baby Tinslee's family, say two medical centers -- one in Boston and one in Nebraska -- are reviewing the child's case andneed more time to decide whether they can/will take over her care.

"It's stressful, it's scary, you don't quite know what to do," said Natalie Gregory, with Protect TX Fragile Kids. "Then, ya know, if you're stuck in a situation where your back's up against a wall, and the only option is to ya know seek counsel to make sure your baby can stay alive for a little bit longer… it's a really a tough position to be in."

Baby Tinslee Lewis, is the 9-month-old at the center of a 10-day dispute with Cook Children's Hospital in Fort Worth. (credit: CBS 11 News)

Tinslee has been on a ventilator since July and doctor say she is suffering and her condition will never improve. The baby is in the neonatal ICU and requires full respiratory and cardiac support, in addition to deep sedation to keep her medically paralyzed.

As it stands, Cook Children's says they have reached out to more than 20 healthcare facilities but none are willing to take Tinslee.

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