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Above:  Robert's mother, Florence, was joined at a
July 28, 2001, memorial service for her son
by four of her daughters, as well as
other family members, friends, and community members
who supported her in her fight to save
her son from being starved and dehydrated to death.
Pictured behind Florence are (from left) Lisa, Debbie, Adophne, and Cynthia.

Robert's Legacy

Wonder what it would be like to litigate a case such as Conservatorship of Wendland which spanned a period of six years? The editors of this site invite you to read and add your comments to the blog from the attorney who successfully litigated Conservatorship of Wendland.

Who Speaks for Robert?
The Importance of Having an Advance Health Care Directive

The editors of this site invite you to view the educational film produced in 2002 by the Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center Center for Research and Training in Humane and Ethical Care :

  Part 1:


Part 2:


The editors of this site had no involvement in the film's production, nor have or will they benefit in any way, financially or otherwise, from it. The film contains a number of factually inaccurate statements, however, the message of the film is appropriate, clear, and consistent with Robert Wendland's legacy:  Every adult should deliberatively prepare and properly execute an advance directive to be followed in the event that he/she is unable to make his/her own medical treatment decisions.  The directive should not only outline his/her medical treatment preferences, but also designate the person(s) who are authorized to serve as the individual's surrogate decision-maker.  An advance directive spares a patient's family from the type of agonizing ordeal endured by all involved with the Wendland case, including but not limited to Robert's family members, the attorneys, judge, justices, medical caregivers, et. al.



Florence Wendland
August 15, 1922 - February 24, 2006

Florence, age 83, entered into eternal rest at home with her loving family at her bedside on Friday, February 24, 2006. 

Florence devoted her entire life to making sure her children and grandchildren were loved and taken care of. Florence was born in North Dakota in 1922 to Phillip and Katherine Siebel and moved to California with her family in 1933 at the age of ten.  She was a third generation Seventh Day Adventist.  Her real passion later in life was bowling, which she was involved in for many years.  Florence was preceded in death by her mother and father; four brothers; two sisters and her eldest son, Robert Wendland.  She is survived by one remaining sister, Lonnie Morrison of Modesto; daughters Cindy Gardella; Adolphne Wert and her husband, Bruce; Debra Hofer; Lisa Raimer and her husband, Darrell; and Rebekah Vinson; her sons Michael Hofer and his wife, Carol; and Thomas Hofer, along with 27 grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

She will be greatly missed by all who loved and knew her.

We extend our sincere condolences to Florence's family.

It was my extreme honor to know Florence and serve as her representative.  She was a special and remarkable woman who showed unconditional love, support, acceptance, and forgiveness to her children, grandchildren and the rest of her family.  She had great courage, a deep, abiding faith in God, and was true to her convictions.

During the 6 years that I represented her in her fight to save her son's life, and the years that have followed, I came to look at Florence as a surrogate mother and, in fact, called her "Mom" with great affection.  I shall miss her sweet voice on the other end of the phone, asking me, "How are you, dearie?" and the way she always greeted me with a big hug.  It is ironic that when the case didn't seem to be going well, she would speak words of comfort and support to me, even though it was my job to utter reassurances to her.  But that's the kind of person she was -- selfless and ready to aid those around her.

To all of her family:  Please accept my heartfelt condolences.  Florence was a unique and special woman.  I shall miss her, but smile when I think of her reunited with Robert, the son she loved and fought so bravely for.

Be at peace, "Mom."

Janie Hickok Siess, Esq.
Lodi, CA 

  Florence Wendland's legal victory is a legacy of life and, hopefully, will save other potential victims

The California Supreme Court issued its decision on August 9, 2001.  Shortly thereafter, Rose Wendland, Robert's court-appointed attorney, and their amicus groups filed a Petition for Rehearing, asking the Court to reconsider and modify portions of its decision.  On September 27, 2001, that Petition for Rehearing was was denied by the Court.

The California Supreme Court decision, as issued on August 9, 2001, is a final decision and may be cited as an authoritative source in other legal proceedings.

Read the decision.

Read the reactions to the decision of the parties, attorneys, etc.

On Saturday, July 28, 2001, Robert's mother, other family members, and friends gathered at a park in Stockton, California, to celebrate Robert Wendland's life. Among the speakers was noted attorney, author and anti-euthanasia advocate, Wesley J. Smith.  Click here to read Mr. Smith's comments.

The Legal Arguments:

In the California Supreme Court


Florence and Rebekah's Opening Brief

Rose's Response Brief

Robert's Answer Brief

Florence and Rebekah's Reply Brief

Amici curiae brief of Not Dead Yet
and 11 other disability rights groups

In the Third District Court of Appeal

The decision:  "The hardest case"?

The 1996 decision requiring the appointment of counsel for Robert

What the Wendland Children Said

What Disability Rights Advocates Said

What the Medical Experts Said

What actually happens to a patient whose feeding tube is removed?

Warning: This information is graphic and may be upsetting to the reader.  This is a slideshow of the testimony of this country's real "Dr. Death," Ronald Cranford, M.D.

Links to Other Sites:

Life Legal Defense Foundation

Not Dead Yet

International Task Force on Euthanasia and Suicide

Compassionate Healthcare Network

Terri's Fight
Read about the fight waged by Terri's parents to save her life

Wesley J. Smith

The Wendland Case in the Media


Florence Wendland's attorney, Janie Hickok Siess, appeared on Scarborough Country, April 2005, as Terri Schiavo was being dehydrated to death.

Plight of Terri Schiavo and her family brings back painful memories for Robert Wendland's mother, Florence

Schiavo right-to-life case brings back memories of one local family's tragedy

The Case Heard Round the Web:
How Terri Schiavo Became a Household Name



"Big Win for Life -- But Why Did Catholic Hospitals Push Euthanasia?"

The Wendland case was one of the top news stories of 2001

San Francisco Faith: December 2001

"Death Dilemma

Why Did Catholic Hospitals Support the Death of Robert Wendland?"

San Francisco Faith: November 2001

"Big Court Win

Why Did Wendland's Wife Stop His Antibiotics?"

The Valley Citizen: September 2001:
"Robert Wendland's Legacy"

San Francisco Chronicle: August 29, 2001
"Widow tries again on the right to die --
State high court asked to reconsider its ruling"

Lodi News-Sentinel: September 28, 2001
"State Supreme Court denies petition to clarify Wendland ruling"

Stockton Record: September 28, 2001
"Wendland decision will stand
State Supreme Court declines reconsideration"

Lodi News-Sentinel: August 28, 2001
"Wendland’s wife petitions high court to clarify ruling"

American Medical News: August 27, 2001
"Calif. Supreme Court raises standard for withdrawing life support --
Physicians should go to extra lengths to make sure a patient has left 'clear and convincing' evidence of end-of-life wishes."

Stockton Record Editorial: August 22, 2001
"Life after death --
Wendland legacy: California high court
sets high standards for ending a life"

Stockton Record: August 22, 2001
"Crash killed Wendland, coroner's office rules"

Lodi News-Sentinel: August 16, 2001
Letter to the Editor from Janie Hickok Siess:
"Wendland Decision Praised"

National Right to Life Committee: August 14, 2001
"Robert Wendland: RIP [Part Two]"

National Right to Life Committee: August 13, 2001
"Robert Wendland: RIP [Part One]"

  Lodi News-Sentinel:  August 10, 2001

Stockton Record: August 10, 2001
"Mom lauds Wendland case ruling"

Los Angeles Times: August 10, 2001
"Justices Deal Setback to Right-to-Die Movement
State court bans removal of life support from conscious patients whose wishes are not clear"

New York Times: August 10, 2001
"California Justices Limit Families' Right to End Life Support"

Oakland Tribune: August 10, 2001
"Court limits right to die
State case may set national precedent"

Daily Journal: August 10, 2001
"Court Tightens Right-to-Die Rules
Justices Demand Proof of Impaired Patients' Wishes"

Contra Costa Times: August 10, 2001
"Court sets life support standard
'Clear and convincing evidence' is needed to unplug the semiconscious"

Sacramento Bee: August 10, 2001
"New curbs placed on right to die"

San Francisco Chronicle: August 10, 2001
"Right-to-die case loses in state court
Feeding can't halted if patient is conscious"

The Daily Recorder: August 10, 2001
"Conservators Can't Choose Death
Court wants clear evidence of conscious conservatee's desires in matters of life, death"

KXTV Channel 10: August 9, 2001
"California Supreme Court Rules in Wendland Case"

San Jose Mercury News: August 9, 2001
"California Supreme Court clarifies guidelines when life support can be removed"

KTVU Channel 2/Associated Press: August 9, 2001
"State Supreme Court on Life Support and Right to Die:
Put it in Writing"

KPIX Channel 5: August 9, 2001
"Right to Die Decision"

KCRA Channel 3: August 9, 2001
"Court Rules On Wendland Right-To-Die Case"

San Francisco Chronicle: August 9, 2001
"6-0 court tightens right-to-die standard;
Patient has to leave clear direction on ending care"

KRON Channel 4: August 9, 2001

Stockton Record: August 9, 2001
"Court's opinion expected on Wendland case"

Colorado Springs Right to Life: August 2001
"The Suspicious Death of Robert Wendland"

Stockton Record: July 27, 2001
Letter to the Editor: "Wendland case a sad lesson"

Lodi News-Sentinel: July 27, 2001
"Lodi hospital stresses need for medical directives"

San Francisco Chronicle: July 24, 2001
"If disabled means expendable"

By Chronicle columnist Debra J. Saunders

H.E.L.P.: July 24, 2001
"An Open Letter from Ed Long, H.E.L.P. Executive Director"

Daily Camera: July 21, 2001
Opinion: "Stretching Life Too Thin"

San Francisco Chronicle: July 19, 2001
"Court may still decide near-coma patient case --
Ruling sought even after man's death"

Los Angeles Times: July 19, 2001
"Man's Widow Pursues Ruling
Law: Subject of right-to-die battle succumbed before court
could act.  Wife says she still wants decision that might help others."

Lodi News-Sentinel: July 19, 2001
"Legal Battle Continues
Despite Robert Wendland's Death"

Stockton Record: July 19, 2001
"Wendland's Widow Wants Court Decision"

Bay City News: July 19, 2001

WAPD: July 18, 2001
"Disability Community Reeling from Death of Robert Wendland"

Statement by Diane Coleman of Not Dead Yet

Los Angeles Times: July 18, 2001
"Injured Man in Life Support Case Dies
Court: His wife and mother had battled for years over the right to end medical aid."

KCRA Channel 3: July 18, 2001
"Man at center of right-to-die case dies"
Includes video clip

KOVR Channel 13: July 18, 2001
"Right-to-die controversy will continue after the death of Robert Wendland"

Associated Press: July 18, 2001
"Man at center of right-to-die case dies in Lodi hospital"

San Francisco Chronicle: July 18, 2001
"Man at center of right-to-die fight is dead
Controversial case was pending in
California Supreme Court"

Sacramento Bee: July 18, 2001
"Man at center of right-to-die case dies in Lodi hospital"

Stockton Record: July 18, 2001
"Robert Wendland dies"

KXTV 10: July 18, 2001
"Death of Robert Wendland Fails to End Family Feud"
Includes video clip

The Recorder: July 18, 2001
"Robert Wendland Dies But Battle Continues --
Both sides still want court to render decision"

Lodi News-Sentinel: July 18, 2001
"Robert Wendland dies after 8 years on life support"

KCRA Channel 3: July 18, 2001
"Wendland Family Remains Divided"
Includes video clip

Lodi News-Sentinel: July 17, 2001
"Robert Wendland's condition worsens"

Stockton Record: July 17, 2001
"Court petition seeks information on Wendland's health"

The Recorder: July 17, 2001
"Wendland Condition Deteriorates"

KXTV News 10: July 17, 2001
"Man at Center of Life Support Battle Dies"

The Stockton Record: July 15, 2001
"Wendland Condition Worsens"

  July 14, 2001 Press Statement issued by
Florence Wendland, Rebekah Vinson, and family

KXTV Channel 10: July 14, 2001
"New Conflict Arises in Bitter Life Support Battle"

National Right to Life: June 2001
"Another Dimension of Death"

Praxis Press: June 27, 2001
The Ethicist: The People's Choice
"How Conscious is Conscious?"

Opinions: June 27, 2001
Bruce Hilton: "A man's last wishes"

The Recorder: June 26, 2001
"Mosk Cases Reassigned to Other Justices"

Los Angeles Times Article: June 21, 2001

San Francisco Chronicle Article: June 21, 2001

Sacramento Bee Article: June 21, 2001

The Recorder: June 22, 2001

SCN Media: June 18, 2001
"End loved one's suffering, or mine?"

Stockton, California Catholic Bishop: June 7, 2001
"Life is Good . . . Not Absolute"

Response to statement of Stockton, California Catholic Bishop by Catherine Short, Legal Director,
Life Legal Defense Foundation


* Note to members of the Catholic Community:

The Alliance of Catholic Health Care, Catholic Healthcare West,

and Mercy Healthcare Sacramento joined in filing a brief in the

California Supreme in support of Rose Wendland.

"In the Balance:
A legal battle between his wife and mother will decide whether Robert Wendland lives or dies"

Listen to National Public Radio's
June 4, 2001 Report

Santa Rosa Press-Democrat: June 4, 2001
Letter to the Editor: "Reasons to Live"

Cape Cod Times: June 2, 2001
Editorial: "The right to live --
California Supreme Court should respect the wishes of the mother of a man on feeding tubes"

Santa Rosa Press Democrat: June 2, 2001
Editorial: "Good will --
Writing out wishes could save a family unendurable grief"

Fresno Bee: June 2, 2001
"Robert's Wishes: Court struggles to set the parameters of the right to die"

Topeka Independent Living Resource Center:
June 2001 -- "Disability Advocates Protest
Starvation of Disabled Man"

  National Right to Life Committee: May 31, 2001
"Pressing the Euthanasia Envelope"

The Tribune: May 31, 2001
"Uncharted Legal Ground in Top Court --
Brain-damaged man's wife, mother fight over life and

  San Francisco Daily Journal: May 31, 2001
"Right-to-Die Case Reaches Top State Court --
The wife of a semi-conscious man wants his feeding tube removed, but his mother and sister say he should be kept alive."

  The Recorder: May 31, 2001
"Court Wary of Ending Patient's Life"

Transcript of CNN's "Talk Back Live"  May 30, 2001

Cape Cod Times: May 30, 2001
"Court tackles right-to-die limits --
California justices seem leery of allowing the death of a man who is paralyzed but still conscious"

KXTV 10: May 30, 2001
"State Supreme Court Hears Case of Lodi Man on Life Support"

Alliance Defense Fund: May 30, 2001
"California Supreme Court to Hear
Arguments in Landmark Life and Death Case Today"

KPIX Channel 5: May 30, 2001
"Family Split Over Life or Death"

The KCRA Channel: May 30, 2001
"Disabled Man's Life In Justices' Hands"

Associated Press: May 30, 2001
"State High Court Grapples with Pulling Plug on Accident Victim"

San Francisco Chronicle: May 30, 2001
"New Twist in Cases Over Right to Die"

The Stockton Record: May 6, 2001
"State's High Court to Hear Wendland Case"

California Healthcare Foundation: April 9, 2001
"In the Twilight Between Life and Death"

Time Magazine: March 27, 2001
"When a Coma Isn't One"

The Tidings: March 2, 2001
Congress Workshops: "In Search of Healing -- A duty to die?"

The Stockton Record: February 11, 2001
"Life-or-Death Decisions Not Solely Court's"

The Center For An Accessible Society: January 23, 2001
"Wendland Case Coverage 'One-Sided,' Charges Attorney"

Letter from Attorney for Florence Wendland to
"Good Morning America" in response to
appearance by Rose and Wendland children: January 22, 2001

Ragged Edge reports on "Good Morning America" Segment

Transcript of CNN's "Burden Of Proof": January 15, 2001

The Stockton Record: January 13, 2001

London Times: January 10, 2001
"Don't Let My Son Die"

London Times: January 4, 2001
"Mother and Wife in Court Battle Over Man's Life"

Los Angeles Times: January 2, 2001
"Out of a Coma, Into a Twilight" "The Betrayal of Hippocrates"
An Interview with Lawyer and Writer Wesley J. Smith

ACLU News January-February 2001:
"ACLU-NC Supports Man's Right to End Life Support"


Coalition For Citizens With Disabilities:
December 2000
"Robert Wendland -- Life, Liberty and ?"

California Nurses' Association:
"Euthanasia- A New Book Dissects the Debate"

American Medical News: July 31, 2000
"California High Court to Ponder Rights on Medical Decisions"

The Recorder: June 2000
"Justices Grant Review in Life Support Case"

The Recorder: February 25, 2000
"Wife Prevails in Right-to-Die Case, Court Says"

The Recorder: February 17, 2000
"Arguing Over Life and Death"


The Recorder: July 21, 1999
"A Life or Death Decision
Briefs fly as groups line up on both sides of right-to-die case"


Elder Law Issues: August 10, 1998
"Lack Of Advance Directive
Contributes To Family Tragedy"

San Francisco Faith: March 1998
"Update: Robert Wendland Spared"

Life Advocate: January/February 1998
"Making the Right Decision for All the Wrong Reasons?"


Stockton Record: December 10, 1997
Judge rejects plea to end Stockton man's life support"

December 1997: "Disabled California Man Saved From Starvation Death"

Life Advocate Magazine: December 1997
"Stockton judge rules on food and water"

December 1997: "Robert Wendland Spared"

Wesley J. Smith:
"Can a 'Right to Die' be Turned into a Forced Fate?"


Wesley J. Smith:
"Killing in the Shadows"


Wesley J. Smith: December 8, 1995
"Creating a Disposable Caste"

Watch KRON-TV's November 1995 Report
Note: You must have Quicktime installed on your computer in order to download and watch the video clip


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