WENDLAND's FAMILY DEMANDS ANSWERS ABOUT
For immediate release**
July 14, 2001
PRESS CONFERENCE TODAY
3:00 p.m. TODAY, Pacific Time, Florence Wendland, the mother of
Robert Wendland, and Rebekah Vinson, Robert's sister, as well as
their counsel, will hold an EMERGENCY PRESS CONFERENCE outside Lodi
Memorial Hospital -West (corner of Lower Sacramento Road and Vine
Street in Lodi).
Robert Wendland has been the subject of a legal battle since July
1995 when his wife, Rose, petitioned the San Joaquin County Superior
Court to be appointed his conservator and for permission to pull his
feeding tube and bring about his death by dehydration and
starvation. Robert is not in a persistent vegetative state or
coma. He is conscious, but disabled following a September 1993
motor vehicle accident.
The case was argued before the California Supreme Court on May 30,
2001, but that court has not yet rendered its decision.
Since June 1, 2001, Florence, who has consistently visited her son
3-4 times per week since his injury, has been prohibited from taking
Robert outside his hospital room in wheelchair, accompanying him to
the multi-purpose room, or engaging in other activities with him.
Rose ordered that Florence only be allowed to visit with
Robert within the confines of his hospital room.
On Wednesday, July 11, 2001, Florence arrived at Lodi Memorial
Hospital -- West to visit her son only to discover that he appeared
to be gravely ill. She was advised by hospital
personnel that no information concerning Robert's condition would be
provided to her and, in fact, if she asked the doctors for
information, Rose, in reliance upon her authority as Robert's
conservator, would direct the hospital to prevent Florence from
visiting with her son at all.
Rebekah has been barred by Rose from visiting with her brother or
even entering the hospital lobby.
On Thursday, July 12, 2001, Florence and Rebekah (also a party to
the legal proceeding which has been pending since 1995), brought an
emergency Petition for Instructions before San Joaquin Superior
Court Judge Bob W. McNatt, asking the judge to order Robert's wife
and conservator, Rose, to give Florence information concerning her
son's health and safety. Florence also asked that Rebekah be
allowed to visit her brother and that Florence and Rebekah's
retained expert neurologist, Vincent Fortanasce, M.D., be allowed to
examine Robert and advise them as to his condition, prognosis and
treatment. ALL requests were denied by Judge McNatt.
Today, Florence visited Robert and observed that he is receiving
morphine. Additionally, Robert and Rebekah's brother, Michael Hofer,
who was seen at the hospital visiting Robert today, told that
Rebekah he will try to make it possible for Rebekah and other family
members to see Robert and say good-bye to him.
These and other issues will be addressed during the EMERGENCY press
conference this afternoon.
Copies of the Petition for Instructions and other documents lodged
with the San Joaquin County Superior Court, including correspondence
from the attorney for Rose and Robert's court-appointed counsel,
will be provided.
All inquiries regarding the press conference or other matters should
be addressed to Florence and Rebekah's counsel, Janie Hickok Siess