FORT WORTH, Texas - The legal battle over the care of a terminally ill baby on life support was back in court Tuesday.
Tinslee Lewis has been in the hospital since she was born because of a rare heart defect. She relies on a ventilator and feeding tube.
Cook Children’s Medical Center wants to allow her to pass away peacefully. Doctors there believe her condition will never improve and argue it’s cruel and unethical to keep her on life support.
Her family is fighting to continue her medical care. They believe she has the right to live.
Attorneys for both sides argued their case before Texas’ Second Court of Appeals in Fort Worth Tuesday morning. The panel of three said they will issue a written opinion and ruling but gave no date or time reference.
After the hearing, Trinity Lewis became emotional when talking about her daughter who celebrated her first birthday this past weekend.
“Tinslee is a fighter and as long as she keeps responding to us and showing us she is fighting, as her mom I will keep fighting for her. I hope and pray these judges will give Tinslee a fair chance. Every parent should have a voice and decision in their child's care,” Lewis said.
She also made a point to address what she calls false information about Tinslee's day-to-day reality.
"I believe it is important to set the record straight about my baby. Tinslee has not had dying spells or blue spells requiring resuscitation for many months,” Lewis said.
She has the support of Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton. They have urged the court to protect Tinslee’s life and give her family members the opportunity to tell their side of the story.
But a right to life group supporting the hospital offered a different account.
"We have sworn testimony that she does continue from her doctors and nurses who are there far more than Tinslee's mom that she does continue to have dying events everyday, multiple a day,” said Kyleen Wright, Texans For Life Coalition.
The hospital also released a statement after the hearing that said its patients deserve the best, most compassionate care possible.
“While every patient’s journey looks different, our commitment to them never fades as we keep pressing forward to put our patients’ needs above our own and working hard to give each child the very best care they deserve. This level of commitment becomes even more important when we are fighting for children who don’t have a voice,” Cook Children’s said in a statement.
Lewis, who says the newest photo of her daughter was taken on her first birthday Saturday, now awaits the appeals courts decision. She vows not to give up even if it means petitioning higher.
“During these last few months Tinslee got to her first Christmas and her first birthday and she's improving. Tinslee is still fighting to get better and I'm going to keep fighting for her and with her,” Lewis said.