Texas Supreme Court Dismissed Wernecke Request
By Kathryn Garcia Caller-Times
November 19, 2005
The Texas Supreme Court dismissed a request made by Katie Wernecke's parents to absolve them from all charges of medical neglect saying the request no longer was valid after the 13-year-old cancer patient's return home.
Katie's father Edward Wernecke said the Supreme Court's decision is a setback, but he and his wife, Michele, will continue to try to clear their name.
"The fight's not over," Wernecke said. "We're having to jump through more hoops, meanwhile a child's life could be snuffed out."
The state Supreme Court's decision comes after attorneys for Child Protective Services filed a motion to dismiss Wednesday saying the Wernecke's request was moot.
James Pikl, attorney for the Werneckes, did not return messages late Friday. Pikl filed an appeal to reverse all Juvenile Judge Carl Lewis' orders including finding the Werneckes medically neglectful. He filed the appeal with the state Supreme Court Oct. 6 before Judge Jack Hunter ruled Oct. 31 to return Katie to her parents and dismiss Child Protective Services.
Lewis recused himself Oct. 13 from Katie's case, saying he didn't want to become a distraction after The Texas Supreme Court reversed his ruling and allowed Wernecke to visit Katie.
CPS spokesman Patrick Crimmins said CPS filed the motion to conclude the matters still pending in the Supreme Court and end their involvement in the case.
"CPS hopes for a full and complete recovery for Katie and that she can return to health," Crimmins said.
Katie is undergoing intravenous Vitamin C treatments at her home three times a week to treat her cancer, Wernecke said. He said he was attempting to schedule his daughter for an MRI.
Katie returned to class Monday at Banquete Junior High School, where she was treated like a family member coming home to her small community, said the school's Principal Eusebio Torres.
"She was accepted with open arms among her peers," Torres said. "That's just the way the kids are in this community. In Katie's case, she's very popular, and she's always been an excellent kid."
Wernecke said Katie's first week at school has helped her return to normalcy.
"She's gonna have a little catching up to do, and she's working hard to get back up to where the rest of the class is," Wernecke said. "She'll adjust and get back in the swing of things pretty quick. She's a trooper."
Torres said Katie is a straight-A student who should have no problem readjusting.
Katie joined her parents Nov. 3 at their family home in Agua Dulce after spending more than four months in state custody after the Werneckes refused radiation treatment for her Hodgkin's disease, a cancer of the lymph nodes.
Doctors at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, where Katie had been receiving chemotherapy treatments, had said her chances of survial had fallen from 85 percent in August to as low as 20 percent. Dr. Ron Hunninghake, who is treating Katie with Vitamin C, has given Katie a "better-than-average" prognosis.
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