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Posted on November 21, 2019 at 12:51 PM

In October 2019, Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas determined that continued life-sustaining treatment for 9-month old Tinslee Lewis was non-beneficial and inappropriate. But Tinslee’s family did not agree.

Pursuant to the conflict resolution provisions in the Texas Advance Directives Act, the hospital confirmed its treatment plan and scheduled withdrawing treatment on November 10, 2019. But before the hospital could do that, the family obtained a temporary restraining order. That order was originally set to expire on November 22. On Tuesday, the judge extended the order until December 10, 2019.

I have not seen the moving papers for the extension, but it is important to recognize that Texas courts should NOT grant regular extensions. TADA provides that courts “shall extend the time period . . . only if the court finds, by a preponderance of the evidence, that there is a reasonable expectation that a physician or health care facility that will honor the patient’s directive will be found if the time extension is granted.” 

Extending the time period for a month (or longer) effectively imposes on the hospital a duty to “treat ’til transfer.” This violates the statute and Texas public policy, because the statute specifically rejects such a duty. And numerous bills to amend TADA to impose such a duty have been defeated. 

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