About the Author

JHSiess successfully represented the late Florence Wendland and her daughter, Rebekah Vinson, in the landmark California case, Conservatorship of Wendland.

Her writings reveal her unique perspective on the protracted litigation over whether Robert Wendland, disabled at the age of 42 as a result of catastrophic injuries sustained in a 1993 motor vehicle accident just outside Lodi, California, should live — or die by dehydration as a result of having his feeding tube removed.

Siess is quick to point out that she felt from the case’s inception that she was called to handle it as a matter and test of her commitment to the law and specific principles. Accordingly, she makes no pretense about being objective here and stresses that objectivity is not the goal.

Rather, it is her hope that all who read about the protracted litigation that ended with a victory in the California Supreme Court for her clients, but Robert Wendland’s death before the win was assured, will resolve never to let their family members speculate about their desires in the event of catastrophic illness or injury. Everyone should discuss with their loved ones the details about their wishes and commit them to writing, appointing an individual(s) to serve as his/her surrogate decision-maker(s) in the event that he/she is unable to communicate his/her desires and/or make decisions about his/her own medical treatment.

Siess says she is confident you will, after learning what Robert Wendland’s family members, caregivers and friends, in addition to the attorneys, judges and justices involved in this case endured, resolve never to permit your loved ones to become embroiled in such a battle.

The need for, as well as the contents and legal sufficiency of a living will or other document outlining one’s wishes and appointing a surrogate decision-maker, should be directed to the reader’s personal physician and/or attorney of his/her own choosing. No statements here should be construed or interpreted as legal advice. By writing about her experiences, Siess has neither entered into nor created an attorney-client relationship with any reader(s); no such relationship may or should be inferred.

Questions may be address to jhsiess@comcast.net.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.