Judge Bob McNatt said, when ruling that Rose Wendland
could not order the removal of Robert Wendland’s
feeding tube, that he was making the “wrong decision
for all the right reasons.”
Judge McNatt’s was the right decision for all the
right reasons, as the California Supreme Court affirmed
last week when it refused to allow conscious disabled
people to be starved/dehydrated to death without clear
and convincing evidence such would be in their best
interest or consistent with their expressed wishes.
Because Robert died on July 17, the court was not
obligated to decide this case. I applaud the justices
for recognizing the significance of the issues
presented, including the fact that other lives could be
at risk, and making the right decision.
On behalf of my clients, Florence Wendland and
Rebekah Vinson, and Robert’s other family members, I
thank the following people and organizations for their
unwavering support and assistance:
• Life Legal Defense Foundation, including
Executive Director Dana Cody, Administrator Mary Riley
and Legal Director Katie Short.
• Wesley J. Smith, Rita Marker and Kathi Hamlon of
the International Anti-Euthanasia Task Force.
• Diane Coleman of Not Dead Yet, and all the other
disability rights organizations that signed the amicus
brief lodged with the court.
• National Center for the Medically Dependent and
• Dr. Vincent Fortanasce, who donated countless
hours of medical expertise.
• The innumerable other people who selflessly gave
their time, talent and offered prayerful support
throughout our successful six-year battle to prevent
Robert from being starved/dehydrated to death, establish
a legal precedent that will give future guidance to
California courts, and prevent other families from
suffering the anguish my clients have endured since
learning of the plan to bring about Robert’s death in
I am proud to have had the opportunity to represent
Florence Wendland, a mother who loved her disabled son
unconditionally and who unobtrusively lives out her
faith each day.
Any child would be privileged to have a mother as
loving, accepting, forgiving and committed to her child
as Florence was to Robert, and continues to be to her
surviving children. She made my work on this case —
however challenging, nerve-wracking and exhausting — a
joyful, inspiring and enlightening journey.
The Supreme Court decision bearing his name is
Robert’s legacy — and, happily, it is a legacy of
life. That’s truly something to be thankful for and
Janie Hickok Siess, Esq.