Pray for Katie

Katie is 13 years old and was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease, a lymphatic cancer. This site is a request to pray for her. Call her prayer pager 1-361-333-KATY (5289), enter your ZipCode and # key, to let her know you have prayed for her. Updates of her progress will be posted on the site. The Power of Prayer is Awesome.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Attorney's Letter to CPS - Stop Unlawful Harassment

The following is a portion of a letter from our attorney James Pikl to CPS:

Ms. Kathleen Phillips
Managing Attorney
Child Protective Services
Corpus Christi, Texas

RE: Concerning: Katie Wernecke, MDA #651172 Current referral

Dear Ms. Phillips:

....As you may or may not know, the Werneckes were recently involved in a court preceeding that terminated on November 2, 2005. The Court issued a final order terminating the proceeding and returning Katie to the full care and custody of her parents. I am enclosing a copy of that court order. You might also speak to Thomas Stuckey in the Nueces County Attorney's office about what occured in that case, and he will tell you that his request that M.D. Anderson remain Katie's teating physicians, and that Katie be required to attend the appointments you reference in your letter, were expressly and adamantly denied by the Court. If he won't do so, let me know and I will send you a copy of the 11/2/05 hearing transcript. We thus have a court order "canceling" those appointments.

...In response to the allegations that Katie "missed" appointments at M.D. Anderson, you should know that this allegation is false. First, the court specifically ruled that the Werneckes need not attend those appointments (see above). Second, those appointments were verbally canceled by Dr. Wernecke in telephone calls to M.D. Anderson since Katie was under the care of new doctors, one of whom is a radiation oncologist. Any reports from M.D. Anderson after November 5, 2005 (the day Katie was finally returned to her parents) would necessarily be wholly uninformed, as that facility and its personnel could not possibly have any knowledge of her current medical condition, treatment, or prognosis.

We urge you to close the file on this referral immediately. There is no basis for it whatsover, and it simply constitues unlawful harassment. We have no idea why personnel at M.D. Anderson would be continuing to insinuate themselves into the affairs of this family, especially after the long court battle recently won by the Werneckes, but no further harassment will be tolerated.

Very truly yours,

James A. Pikl

Katie Learns Of CPS Investigation - Becomes Depressed

Katie learned that CPS has opened another investigation. This means they could take and pick her up any minute at school or at home and place her back in custody and at M.D. Anderson.

Katie became very depressed and withdrawn beginning that afternoon. She spent most of the day on the couch curled up into a tight ball with a crying look on her face. She didn't watch TV, or do anything, and I couldn't get her up. She slept most of the daytime and into evening, something she normally never would do.

I have to admit it stressed me out too, I got an ulcer in one day, and had to go on Tagamet pills. Michele was also very stressed out and did not sleep at all just worrying about it and waiting for that dreaded knock on the door again. Jonathan, Katie's brother, was having nightmares that they took Katie again.

We are doing what we feel is best for Katie and Katie agrees with our decisions. Why does M.D. Anderson have to stick their nose in here and put us all through this living hell again. It is enough to give an older man like myself a heart attack or to make a pregnant woman lose a baby.


CPS Opens New Investigation of Medical Neglect of Katie

In a letter from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services dated November 30, 2005 addressed to our attorney James Pikl:

Dear Mr. Pikl:

Please be advised that our agency has received a new referral alleging medical neglect of Katie Wernecke by Edward and Michele Wernecke. Specifically, the report alleges that Katie missed scheduled appointments at MD Anderson Cancer Center on 11/14/2005 ande 11/16/2005. Additionally, it alleges that Katie is receiving only high dose Vitamin C, which is unproven or complimentary therapy.

Due to this open investigation, I am requesting the following information:.....


Kathleen Phillips
Managing Attorney
Corpus Christi, Texas

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Katie is Active and Feeling Good

Katie is active and feeling good. She continues to attend full time school and participate in physical education. CPS screwed up her course work when Katie transferred to Houston so Katie was thrown into several courses that were not the same as she was taking in Houston. We requested of CPS, at the time, that the courses must match up. Leave it to the government to screw things up. Now Katie is struggling to catch up.

Medically, Katie continues to receive the IVC treatments 3 times a week along with nutritional support. She had an MRI done this morning to follow the progress. She had two ingrown toenails cut out in the afternoon. These had bothered her for months but they wouldn't cut them when she was on the chemo and had low blood and platelet counts. What a pain relief for her. Tomorrow on Wednesday she gets another IVC treatment, a Vit C plasma level, and then a comprehensive metablic panel on her blood. So you can see her treatments and condition is being monitored closely.

Katie said she does not want to go back to M.D. Anderson.


Monday, November 28, 2005

M.D. Anderson Reports Us to CPS

Here is the content of that report to CPS:

Katie has recurrent Hodgkin's disease. She was found to have this disease in January 2005 and received treatment in Corpus Christi. When she failed to complete the initial teatment {false}, a complaint of medical neglect was filed with CPS. Katie was then brought to the UT M.D. Anderson Cancer Center for treatment. In June 2005, it was noted that Katie had delveloped recurrent or relapsed Hodgkin's disease. A salvage treatment was initiated, but Katie relapsed. Following this, a third therapy plan was started{false}, but that plan was not completed. In November 2005, Katie's custody was reassigned to the parents. Katie has not been seen at M.D. Anderson since 11/03/05. Katie missed a scheduled appointment on 11/14/05, to evaluate the effectiveness of the most recent chemotherapy at M.D. Anderson and also missed a scheduled appointment on 11/16/05, to plan radiation therapy {false canceled as indicated in blog below and now under other doctors care}. As of early November 2005, Katie had a one in four chance of surviving Hodgkin's disease. Katie's only hope for survival is that the radiation therapy be curative. High dose Vitamin C "therapy" is an unproven or complimentary therapy. It has no documented benefit for patients with Hodgkin's disease. Radiation therapy, however, has cured many people with this disease.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

No One is Getting any Sleep

Michele and I are both worrying about Dr. Wells and M.D. Anderson turning us back into CPS and taking Katie away again. We are not getting any sleep at night. We hope Mr. Pikl's letter to M.D. will take care of the problem. They definitely do not want us continuing with the high dose ascorbic acid intravenous treatments.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


22 November 2005

Laurel Hyle, J.D.
Associate Legal Officer
M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Box 537
Houston, Texas 77030

RE: Concerning: Katie Wernecke
Continuing Medical Interference

Dear Ms. Hyle:
As you know, this firm represents Dr. Edward and Michele Wernecke, the parents of Katie Wernecke. It also represents Katie Wernecke. Katie Wernecke was for a time an involuntary patient at M.D. Anderson, under the auspices of Dr. Wells.

As you are aware, on November 2, 2005, the court ordered Katie returned to the care and custody of her parents, finding no just cause to have Katie remain in DFPS custody or under the auspices of your doctors.

In fact, the court considered a specific request by DFPS to require Katie to undergo continuing diagnosis and/or treatment at M.D. Anderson hospital, and the court expressly rejected that request, releasing Katie to the care of her parents and fully restoring their rights to make all future medical decisions for Katie without conditions or restrictions of any kind. See transcript of hearings dated 10/31/05 and 11/2/05, and order of dismissal dated 11/2/05. [YOU CAN FIND THE CONTENTS OF THE NOV 2 COURT ORDER ON THE NOV 2 BLOG ENTRY BELOW]

This decision by the court was based, at least in part, on Dr. Wells’ testimony that Katie only had a 20 to 25% chance of survival if she underwent the M.D. Anderson-prescribed treatment. See Newmark v. Williams, 588 A.2d 1108 (Del. 1991)(holding that parents’ desire to refuse cancer treatment for child with a 40% chance of survival was justified and lawful).

The court was informed that the Werneckes intended to treat Katie with different treatment at a clinic in Kansas, and that treatment took place right on schedule and is ongoing at this time. See In re Hofbauer, 47 N.Y.2d 648, 393 N.E.2d 1009, 419 N.Y.S.2d 936 (1979)(holding that parents, not state bureaucrats or doctors, are the proper decision-makers when alternative treatments are possible for their children’s medical care).

It has now come to my attention that Dr. Wells is continuing to attempt to intermeddle in Katie’s medical decisions and care. He has also made thinly-veiled threats to make a complaint to DFPS if Dr. Wernecke does not bring Katie in for additional consultation and/or treatment, even though any such complaint would be completely groundless, unethical, and would subject him to liability—potentially even jeopardizing his medical license—for making knowingly-false statements to a government agency.

You might also take a look at 45 C.F.R. 46.116, since Dr. Wells has already subjected Katie to experimental treatments without informing her or her guardian that Katie was the subject of an ongoing clinical trial, and he did not fully inform them of their rights or options (including the option to abstain) regarding that treatment. Hasn’t Dr. Wells already walked as close to the edge of that cliff as he dares to tread?

Dr. Wells has also blatantly lied to Dr. Wernecke, stating that “Katie will die” without his recommended radiation treatment, even though recent scans do not indicate the necessity for such treatment and there is no way possible for Dr. Wells to even know whether Katie will or will not die without this treatment. Dr. Wells does not even know Katie’s current medical condition, so his predictions and diagnoses are wholly uninformed. Such statements thus constitute professional irresponsibility, at the very least.

Such Draconian statements are clearly false and merely represent improper attempts to further coerce the Werneckes into accepting additional harmful, unnecessary, experimental, and unwanted treatments. And, Dr. Wells has made these false statements and unfounded threats even though Dr. Wernecke has repeatedly told Dr. Wells that Katie is now under the care of different medical doctors, and Dr. Wells’s services are no longer required. Please tell Dr. Wells to cease and desist from further pestering the Werneckes.

To the extent this was not made clear before, Dr. Wells and all other M.D. Anderson doctors have been released (read: “fired”) as Katie’s doctors and their services are no longer needed or wanted in this matter. In addition, please tell all other personnel at M.D. Anderson to leave the Werneckes alone.

M.D. Anderson and DFPS have already done quite enough damage to Katie and this family, and no further interference or unsolicited contact will be tolerated. Failure to abide this demand will be met with an immediate lawsuit against your hospital and all personnel involved seeking injunctive relief and damages designed to secure the Werneckes’ peace, enforce their constitutional parental rights, and protect their court-ordered liberty interests.

Please call if you have any questions about this matter.


James A. Pikl

Monday, November 21, 2005

Dr. Robert Wells Calls - Says Katie Will Die Without Planned Radiation Treatments

Dr. Wells called from M.D. Anderson and asked what treatments Katie was receiving. I explained we were still continuing the IVC treatments under the care of the Kansas doctors, one of whom was Dr. Hunninghake, as he well knew.

Dr. Wells said Katie would die without receiving the planned radiation treatments. I asked him why he was calling and if he was planning to turn us back into CPS. He said he was considering it.

I told him we were under also under the care of another radiologist oncologist in Kansas but that I could not give him the name of the doctor because the doctor had requested that his name be kept confidential, but that the doctor may contact Dr. Wells for more information if needed.

I wondered about Dr. Wells statements after he hung up. Would he turn us back into CPS? What about "Katie would die if she didn't receive the radiation treatments"? Seems that is the same phrase I heard some 5 months ago about June 1st. Seems some Dr. Alter at Driscoll Children's hospital made the same statement and said Katie would die in 10 days if she didn't get the radiation treatments. Seem to recall that the same M.D. Anderson radiologist Dr. Anita Mahajan made the same recommendation to the court about June 10th. If she needed it and would die without it then why wasn't it done five months ago?

Why was nothing except evaluations done at M.D. Anderson for 40 days? They could have completed the radiation treatments in 21 days. Why was some new and dangerous experimental chemo used on Katie instead? They took my healthy child that had no active cancer on June 1 and reduced her changes of surviving to 20 to 25% with their experimental drugs. Their experimental treatments were a failure. Dr. Wells even admitted that. Now they want to take my child away again. Why? Haven't we and Katie been through enough?


Sunday, November 20, 2005

M.D. Anderson Continues to Call Us.

Before we were released from M.D. Anderson on Nov 5th M.D. Anderson had set appointments for Nov. 14 for a PET/CT scan and on Nov 16 for a Follow-Up visit with Dr. Anita Mahajan and Dr. Wells.

Dr. Wells November 5th summary of Katie's condition and future possible treatments at M.D. Anderson left us with no hope for Katie. We weren't satified with that. As you know we went to Kansas where Dr. Hunninghake offered some hope of recovery and a better chance of survival than M.D. Anderson.

After being in Kansas and doing the intravenous ascorbic acid treatments (IVC) and after also contacting and discussing Katies treatment with a radiation oncologist, there in Kansas, we decided to cancel our appointments at M.D. Anderson. I made two different calls from Kansas canceling the appointments. Michele also called and canceled the appointments.

Now we kept getting calls from M.D. Anderson all last week. First from the social workers, and then even the head nurse, and Dr. Wells secretary all called to find out if we really had canceled the appointments. We make it clear we had canceled them and were under other doctors care.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Texas Supreme Court Fails to Do Their Job -- Parents Unite With One Voice And Be Heard

For Katie's Sake

The issue before the Texas Supreme Court is the right of fit parents to make the medical decisions for their children. By avoiding the real issue here the Texas Supreme Court has failed to make a decision that only they can make that would affect all Texans. It is not just an issue of clearing our name of medical neglect as Kathyrn Garcia has stated below. I talked to her about the real issues involved here and I don't see a one of them mentioned in the Caller-Times. Yes, CPS wants the case dismissed, because they know the effect a ruling in our favor would have on the organization.

CPS apparently can control even the Texas Supreme Court.

CPS already controls the local court systems. They have their judge, their lawyers, the Ad Litem attorney for the child, their CASA representatives, all in the palm of their hand and under their control. Parents have practically no escape from their grasp and control of the system. Katie Wernecke hired her own lawyer because her court appointed attorney Linda Schauer wasn't representing what Katie wanted, and he was thrown out by the assistant county attorney and the court. They couldn't allow an outsider to enter their little system. Judge Carl Lewis was on the board of CASA and just resigned last week. Why was Judge Lewis the only juvinile court judge hearing CPS cases? There was no due process in this court. There was no protection of our constitutional rights. Do you see the conflicts of interest here and possible wrong doings. There is no oversight of the CPS agency.

Texas has no guidelines to decide who gets to decide, the parents or the state. It is time for the Supreme Court to step up to the plate and do what has to be done: Set guidelines for who gets to decide. Does the United States Supreme court have to come in here and do what our Texas Supreme Court should do?

The way it is now: doctors are in charge of the medical decisions of our children. I find that not acceptable and I think most parents would. The doctor says do it or I call in CPS. The doctors are in charge of our kids. They are using our kids in scientific experiments for cancer research. They don't care what is the best treatment for your child; just got to complete the experiment and get those results and that research money for the hospital. Doesn't matter whether this child lives or dies as there is always another child coming for our next experiment.

The way it should work is that the doctor makes a recommendation, tells you all the pros and cons, and side effects, and possible alternatives, and you as fit parents make the decision for your child. After research and study, you may agree with your doctor and go ahead with the recommendation. If you don't agree, or the doctor did not tell you the whole story (most likely), you may want to seek a second and maybe a third opinion, before you reach a conclusion and a decision. Remember, doctors can only make recommendations! This case leaves doctors controlling and directing the medical care of our children.

You, as an adult, can decide if you go along with the doctor's recommendation or if you reject that recommendation. Children do not have that right to decide for themselves. The parents, acting in the best interest of the child, make those decisions for the child. Now, in our case, as in many others, the doctor makes a recommendation and if we don't agree with that recommendation he simply has to pick up the phone and call in CPS to take the child away from the parents and the child gets the treatments. There is an affidavit filed with the court and a court order is issued giving CPS complete physical and medical control over your child for the next 14 days. There is a 14 day period before you can even get a hearing on the issue and meanwhile CPS and the doctors have free reign to do anything medically they want to your child. In most cases the child gets the treatment and is returned to the parents within the 14 days. Fine, if it truly was a life saving emergency treatment and no time for a hearing. Sometimes there are religious issues involved too.

This measure was intended to be used in a life and death situation only. If the doctors and CPS get away with this crime in our case, and misuse of the system of laws, parents everywhere are going to lose complete control of the medical care of their children. We had completed the treatment plan outlined by the doctor. The results were back. My daughter, Katie, had no active cancer anywhere in her body at the time. It was completely dead. There was no medical emergency. We asked for a second opinion. The doctors didn't agree. We asked to seek a third opinion. That was denied and the doctor called in CPS to force us to undergo his "recommendation." Well it was no longer a recommendation but a forced treatment using the power of Child Protective Services.

This was a treatment that we did not want for our daughter or even believed she needed, given the limited information we had at the time. The cancer was dead. The doctors took no time to really answer our questions or explain anything or even consider the alternatives. We didn't sign anything refusing treatment. The next thing we knew CPS was knocking on our door with two police officers to take our daughter Katie. There was no discussion, no hearing before a judge, nothing at all.

The doctor simply reports you to CPS and sends a letter with his "recommendation." The CPS worker prepares an affidavit in cooperation with the county attorney and they take it to an emergency hearing before a judge and on that sworn affidavit the judge signs a court order giving CPS temporary managing conservatorship of your child. The problem is in our case this wasn't an emergency and our daughter was not at risk of dying immediately. The cancer was dead. But with some twisting of the truth, and outright lies and false information, a good CPS worker can make it look that way to the judge. And since this is always a secret emergency hearing where CPS fails to invite the parents and their attorney there is no one to question the validity of the affidavit. A sworn affidavit is considered heresay in all other court proceeding until it is proven in court by cross examination of the person making the affidavit. And so CPS can't have the parents or their attorney present at this emergency hearing or they couldn't accomplish their goal of taking the child.

On the basis of such an affidavit they took Katie away from her parents. At our last court hearing with Judge Hunter, we submitted sworn affidavits from a doctor and another from an expert witness and both were rejected by the court and CPS attorneys because the doctor and expert witness were not present in the court room to be cross examined on their testimony. They can take my child away and have her treated with dangerous radiation against my wishes on the basis of a heresay affidavit with no cross examination yet we cannot submitt the same into evidence in court with supporting documents. Truely the courts and CPS don't have to follow the rules of evidence, unless they want to use the rule against you.

On top of all that CPS and these officers invaded my home without a search warrant and found some so called violations, and took my other three boys away without an emergency court hearing. In doing so the law requires a hearing to be held the next day in which the parents are supposed to appear again. Again we received no notice of this hearing and they manufactured another false ammended affidavit to include all four kids now. Parents, representatives, and judges, CPS believes it is above the law. They do not follow the law in the family codes nor do they follow their own regulations and guidelines. They have no one over seeing the organization. There is no one to appeal your case to. We have an out of control agency. We spend over $150,000 on legal bills and expenses defending our case, most of which is still unpaid. This would bankrupt most families including ours. Here we are with a child with cancer and every dime should have went into caring for and finding a cure for that child's cancer. This is just so wrong and just so unnessary and just makes me sick to my stomach.

People we must stand up and say enough is enough. We must demand the Texas Supreme Court hear the issues involved here. We must call our Governor and legislatures to the task of correcting the Child Protective System. We must have some sort of an oversight committee or panel of parents to review decisions and actions of the agency.

One the other hand, the CPS agency should probably be dissolved. The present system is corrupt and no way to fix it. They do more harm then good. There is more abuse of kids in the system than ever done by parents outside. The more kids they take into the system the more money they make. Take a sick child that has cancer and that means big bucks.

CPS lied to the public and the press. CPS lied to the press and television crews stating that they wanted to keep the lines of communication open with the parents and Katie. Meanwhile in the court room, CPS was requesting to take away Katie's cell phone and computer and phone access and wanted to shut off all communication and visits with her parents. CPS said publically and repeatedly that all they wanted was to get Katie the cancer treatments and get her well and return her back to her parents. That was a lie. According to my attorney Luis Corona, at our next to the last court hearing, CPS had filed for termination of our parental rights over Katie. They never had any intention of returning her to her parents. CPS filed to terminate our parental rights and to take Katie into permanent CPS custody until she could be adopted out.

The state blundered the case and blundered the treatment of my child, Katie. They took a child that didn't have any active cancer and returned us a child with about a 20% chance of surviving, according to M.D. Anderson, who used unproven and experimental drugs on Katie. So they gave her back because they don't wan't her dying in state care. That wouldn't look good. Now, if Katie dies in our care, they will prosecute my wife and I and put us in jail (See Channel III broadcast last Monday). Either way they win and finally get what they wanted -- the rest of our kids back in their care so they can adopt them out and make money on that end.

It is possible that the cancer would never have returned had Katie been left in our care. CPS ripped her from her parents love and health care and put her through severe emotional stress and trauma, with no nutritional support, allowing the cancer to return. Studies have shown that stress is enough to cause cancer.

Do you think it can't happen to you or this don't concern you? Think again. Cancer now happens to 1 in 3 people. That means before long there is a chance for nearly every family to have one member with cancer and one of those might just be your child too. It does not even have to be about cancer, just any illiness where the treatment is controverisble. What about the drugs like ridalyn that some teacher thinks your kid needs because he doesn't sit still in school. Refuse the doctor's order to give it to your kid and CPS comes and takes your child away. It happens every day. The decision, here too, must ultimately be up to the fit parents to decide.

This is an issue for every parent in Texas. It is that important. Who do you want making medical decisions for your child? If you do nothing the doctors will dictate the treatment of your child. Child Protective Services becomes the enforcer of the doctors orders. The doctor is no longer making just a recommendation. As a consequence we have lost our children's care to the state. Big Money and the drug companies influence the doctors heavily. Before long, they will be testing drugs on our kids without our consent. Don't believe it. That is exactly what M.D. Anderson was doing with Katie Wernecke. They used drugs on her that were in a Phase 2 Clinical Trial.

Child Protective Services stole five months of my daughters precious life away from her family. They traumatized the boys in the family for life. The damage and cost of that is so high I cannot even place a figure on it. Yet, there is no one to hold CPS accountable for the damage they have done to my family and our lives. They are even immune from law suit under the law. We must make sure this can never happen to another Texas family again. I am calling, and want you to also, on the Supreme Court to act with out delay and give some guidelines as to who gets to decide.

We don't need any more government intrusion into our lives and we certainly don't need some CPS worker, with 3 months of training, never even had kids of their own, making medical decisions for our children.

Parents join together with us and make your voices heard loud and clear. We are not going to stand for anymore. The time is now! We won't get another chance to change this again. Call the Texas Supreme Court and let your voice be heard. Call your representatives and tell them if you expect my vote then get to work and fix this problem.

Edward Wernecke

Texas Supreme Court Dismissed Wernecke Request

Court dismisses 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.

Copyright 2005, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Teen Tells Her Story on Vitamin C Treatments - Wichita Eagle

Posted on Wed, Nov. 09, 2005

Teen tells her story on vitamin C treatments


The Wichita Eagle

Katie Wernecke is ready to quit being the center of attention and get back to being a typical Texas 13-year-old.

Katie has had three intravenous vitamin C treatments at Wichita's Center for the Improvement of Human Functioning International and may have one or two more before she and her dad, Edward Wernecke, return to the family's ranch near Corpus Christi, they said Wednesday.

The treatments are a controversial approach to attacking cancer -- Hodgkin's disease, in Katie's case.

Katie said the treatments had been painless, given through the port in her chest that was used to deliver powerful chemotherapy drugs earlier this year.

Intravenous vitamin C is intended as a supplemental treatment. Physician Ron Hunninghake, medical director at the center near K-96 and Hillside, has said vitamin C, in large enough doses, is converted to peroxide, which is toxic to cancer cells.

At a news conference earlier today, Hunninghake said he was pleased with preliminary results of Katie's treatment.

"She has a good foundation... a better than average prognosis from our perspective," he said.

Edward Wernecke chose the vitamin C after exploring several alternative treatments. He said he wasn't sure what would happen after he and Katie return to Texas, though the family's legal fight with that state's Child Protective Services will continue. He wants the Texas Supreme Court to say the family, not CPS, was right in its actions.

CPS stepped into the picture in May, after doctors said Katie needed radiation and more chemotherapy to keep her cancer from returning.

Wernecke and Katie said her symptoms began late last year, with night sweats. In early January, she had a dry, hacking cough and her chest looked a little swollen. An X-ray showed a mass; a doctor said it looked like stage 4 -- advanced -- Hodgkin's disease, a cancer of the lymph nodes.

"It really wasn't, though," said Katie, whose powder blue and white sweat shirt bore what seemed an appropriate message: "It's all about me. Deal with it."

In fact, a biopsy after a healing group prayed over Katie showed she had stage 2 Hodgkin's. Wernecke believed the prayers made the difference.

"We do believe in the power of prayer," he said. But, "We don't rely on it entirely -- we're not against medicine."

Katie's story is on her blog site,

Her father said the family's legal bills stand at more than $125,000 and many of her medical expenses, including the treatment in Wichita, aren't covered by expenses. The family is accepting donations at

For more on this story, see Thursday's Eagle.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Katie's Getting Vitamin Therapy

Doctors disagree on effectiveness of the treatment
By Kathryn Garcia Caller-Times
November 8, 2005

Cancer patient Katie Wernecke's father hopes the 13-year-old's first intravenous Vitamin C treatment on Monday will save her life.

"We're hoping that it will help her body heal and her immune system will take over and maybe it will extend her life and cure the cancer," said Edward Wernecke.

Wernecke said Katie will undergo another round of intravenous Vitamin C today and a final round Wednesday before Dr. Ron Hunninghake of the Kansas Center for the Improvement of Human Functioning International in Wichita, Kan., can evaluate the treatment's results.

Hunninghake said the treatment is not an alternative to chemotherapy and radiation treatments but should be used with conventional methods. He said Vitamin C is toxic to cancer cells and boosts one's immune system, helping patients fight the effects of other more common cancer treatments.

Katie, who was unavailable for comment Monday, was released to her parent's custody Friday after being in state custody since June 4 after her parents refused radiation treatment fearing its side effects. She had been staying with a foster family in Houston and undergoing state-authorized chemotherapy treatments at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston for her Hodgkin's disease, a lymphatic cancer. CPS has been dismissed from Katie's case.

The young girl's chances of survival have dropped from 80 percent in August to as low as 20 percent because of delays in treatment, Katie's treating pediatric oncologist Robert Wells of M.D. Anderson said at a hearing last week.

Katie is scheduled to return to M.D. Anderson for a checkup Nov. 14 and a radiation consultation Nov. 16. Wells has said high dosages of Vitamin C could hinder the effects of radiation treatment.

Hunninghake said Wells' theory is a common misunderstanding, one that has been disproved in several studies by the center.

"We think this treatment is going to increase her survivability," Hunninghake said. "It's increasing her chance of getting well and improving her quality of life."

Wernecke said that until Hunninghake evaluates the results of the Vitamin C treatment, he is unsure whether Katie will go to Houston next week for her appointments. Katie's return to her Agua Dulce home, where Katie's mother and three brothers are, also hasn't been determined, he said.

Contact Kathryn Garcia at 886-3792 or HYPERLINK

Copyright 2005, All Rights Reserved.


Monday, November 07, 2005

Our First Day At the Center - Donations Desperately Needed

After fasting for 12 hours, Katie arrives at the Center at 7:45 am for a complete evaluation and testing. The appointment and initial evaluation was $500. Tests were then selected to determine Katie's present health condition. Katie was found to be a candidate for the IVC treatments. Additional tests included complete blood tests, urine, minerals, vitamins A,C,D, E, K, the whole range of B vitamins, essential fatty acids, amino acid profiles, tests for viruses, parasites in stool, and enzymes. These tests cost about $2900. Three days of IV ascorbic acid testing to determine the optimum VIT C level for Katie will add about $450. To continue the IVC treatments will probably cost about $500 a week. We don't have insurance to cover this.

Our legal expenses to free Katie from Child Protective Services have exceeded $125,000. The majority of that is unpaid and will have to be paid immediately. This was a battle for parents rights for you and your kids. The battle is being taken back to the Texas Supreme Court. We must make sure this doesn't happen to another child. It takes money to do that. At the same time we have all these medical bills which have to be paid to save Katie's life and are top priority. We don't have the means or income to meet these needs. If you can help a little it would be most appreciated. There is a fund set up for Katie by Compassion Childrens Foundation where donations are tax deductible. Just go to . You may also send donations directly to Katie Wernecke, P.O. Box 132, Agua Dulce, Tx 78330. Thank you for your donations. May God richly bless you.


Sunday, November 06, 2005

We Get a Tour of the Center

Dr. Ron Hunninghake came over Sunday afternoon and gave us a private tour of the Center. It was a very unique place consisting of geodesic dome shaped buildings that are joined together underground. For more information go to

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Katie And Dad Leave for Wichita Kansas

Katie and I leave home, after lunch on Saturday, on a plane for Wichita, Kansas. We are headed to the Center for Improvement of Human Functioning International. It is here where they do the intravenous ascorbic acid treatments with nutritional therapy. Katie hated to leave her brothers and mother behind after just being home less than a day and a half. She had tears in her eyes as she kissed and hugged her momma and little brothers goodbye. We both knew it had to be done and there was no time to lose or waste in getting the treatments for the cancer. The trip would take about 5 hours. We arrived at about 7 pm and rented a car and found a hotel to stay in. Due to the court battle we could not make our reservations timely and had to accept an earlier flight arriving on Saturday instead of Sunday. Our appointment is for early Monday morning. This gave us one free day to look over and explore Wichita. Wichita is the largest city in Kansas. It is the home of Wichita State University. It is a beautiful, clean city, with a lot of active new growth and development.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Katie Released From M.D. Anderson

Katie Wernecke with her parents, Edward and Michele, Thursday after she was released from the M. D. Anderson Cancer center in Houston.

Girl With Cancer Reunites With Family as State Gives Up Custody

Published: November 4, 2005
HOUSTON, Nov. 3 - Promising to seek the best cancer treatment possible for their 13-year-old daughter, Katie, her parents, Edward and Michele Wernecke, reclaimed her from a hospital here on Thursday, reuniting a family separated by a judge's order five months ago.

"We're grateful Katie's going to be home with us," Mr. Wernecke, a rancher from Corpus Christi, said outside the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

He deplored their depiction by the Texas authorities as negligent parents simply because they objected to the radiation treatment that doctors said their daughter needed for Hodgkin's disease.

"We will do our best to get the finest treatment in the world to get her cured and back to normal again," Mr. Wernecke said.

In addition to continuing chemotherapy for Katie, he said, they are taking her to a nutritional clinic in Kansas next week for evaluation and possible vitamin C treatments.

Katie had little to say. Life away from her family, she said, has been boring. Asked how her pets were doing, she said, "I haven't been home lately, so I don't know."

On Monday, a second judge overturned the ruling in June that placed Katie with a foster family and enforced a course of chemotherapy. Child protection authorities had accused her parents of thwarting her treatment by hiding her on a relative's property. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services won a court order to place Katie with a foster family and also removed the couple's three sons for a time.

With the girl's prognosis worsening and the Werneckes arguing that their parental rights to decide what was best for her had been grossly violated, the state's supervisory role was ended and Katie was returned to her parents on the completion of her latest round of chemotherapy at M. D. Anderson.

Coming on the heels of the Terri Schiavo right-to-die furor, this case raised questions of parental rights and responsibilities in their children's medical care. Peter Johnston, president of the Texas Center for Family Rights in Rosenberg, said the Bureau of Child Protective Services had "intervened way too often in way too many families."

But Darrell Azar, communications manager for the Department of Family and Protective Services, which includes the child protective bureau, said there were "clearly documented reasons" that the state had been given custody of Katie.

But now that the state had been removed, Mr. Azar said, "we're hopeful the family will continue to do what is best for Katie."

Mr. Wernecke said Katie's recovery chances during her treatment "went from 80 percent to 90 percent down to 20."

He declined to discuss her prognosis further, saying: "We're not talking about that today. Today is a happy day."

Among the options the family is exploring, he said, are intravenous vitamin C treatments at the Center for the Improvement of Human Functioning in Wichita, Kan., where they have an appointment on Monday.

Dr. Ron Hunninghake, chief medical officer of the center, said in a telephone interview that the outpatient center, established 30 years ago, did not offer alternative medical treatments but rather integrated nutritional therapies into traditional medicine. He cited a recent study in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that found that vitamin C administered intravenously rather than orally can kill some cancer cells.

Mrs. Wernecke said that Katie first began feeling ill in the summer of 2004 and that last winter she had trouble breathing and developed a fast-growing lump on her neck that led to the diagnosis of Hodgkin's disease, which originates in lymphatic tissue. She was given chemotherapy, but when doctors urgently prescribed radiation, the Werneckes balked. Mr. Wernecke said then he was concerned about the harmful effects on her growth and development and sought other opinions.

At Driscoll Children's Hospital in Corpus Christi, Dr. Nejemie Alter, a specialist in pediatric oncology-hematology, said that there were no other options for Katie and that the situation was life threatening.

When Mrs. Wernecke hid Katie on a relative's property, Dr. Alter complained to the family services agency, which obtained an order from Judge Carl Lewis removing her from her home. He placed her with a foster family in Houston, where her chemotherapy treatments could be enforced and monitored. She was also assigned a guardian and a lawyer.

Dr. Alter's office said he was no longer involved with the case and had no comment.

After Katie's removal, social workers, saying the family's ranch house was unfit, also obtained an order removing the three sons, 14, 5 and 2, to a children's home. They were returned under Judge Lewis's order less than two weeks later.

Judge Lewis was replaced on the case by Judge Jack Hunter, who was more receptive to complaints by the Werneckes' lawyer, James A. Pikl, that their rights had been violated and that there was no practical way of enforcing any course of treatment that Katie, as well as her parents, vehemently opposed.

Judge Hunter, in his ruling that returned Katie to the family, declined to vacate Judge Lewis's rulings faulting the Werneckes for medical neglect. Mr. Wernecke said the family would apply to the State Supreme Court for that relief.

He was in the lobby of the cancer center when his cellphone trilled with a call from a son at home. "Yeah," he said, "we're going to bring Katie."

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Cancer Patient Reunited With Parents After Months in Foster Care

POSTED: 10:39 pm CST November 3, 2005
UPDATED: 10:42 pm CST November 3, 2005

HOUSTON -- Locking arms with her mother and father, Katie Wernecke slowly walked out of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center on Thursday and said she was "excited" to be finally going home.

A judge ruled this week that the 13-year-old cancer patient should be returned to her parents' custody as soon as she completed a round of chemotherapy and was stable, ending a lengthy legal battle with the state.

The state's Child Protective Services removed Katie from her family in June after her father said radiation treatment could put his daughter at a heightened risk for breast cancer. A doctor told a social worker that Katie's parents were endangering her life by refusing treatment.
This week, state District Judge Jack Hunter said the Werneckes should get her back and should be allowed to decide what path of treatment to follow.

Katie said almost nothing to a media crowd awaiting her release from the hospital. Bald, pale and looking weak, Katie clung to her parents for support.

"It means a whole lot," said Katie's mother, Michelle Wernecke. "We can start building her back up with love and hope and ask for another miracle. Just having the family back together again, it wasn't whole without her."

Katie arrived with her parents in Corpus Christi late Thursday en route to the family's home in Agua Dulce.

"I'm feeling better. It was very boring and 'kinda' lonely without my parents," she said in a story in Friday's Corpus Christi Caller-Times. "I'm excited. I was thinking I'd be back more like in February."

Edward Wernecke said in Houston that the legal battle isn't over. Although he said he was satisfied with Hunter's ruling that Katie could go home, Wernecke said Hunter still has not cleared them of an earlier ruling that they had medically neglected their daughter.

Wernecke planned to go back to the Texas Supreme Court and ask that that ruling be reversed.
"Judge Hunter did the right thing in returning Katie to us, but he didn't go far enough," Edward Wernecke said. "We were never guilty of medical neglect. We want to be vindicated. We also want for all families who have had trouble with CPS, for the Supreme Court to come forward and set some rules and guidelines so other families don't have this difficulty."

Neither CPS officials nor Katie's doctor, pediatric oncologist Robert Wells, were available for comment.

Edward Wernecke, Katie's father, pledged to take Katie to the Bright Spot for Health clinic in Kansas this weekend to seek intravenous Vitamin C.

"We're grateful and we're going to find the finest treatment in the world to get her cured," he said.

"When you have a case of cancer, there is no magic bullet," Edward Wernecke said. "It's not black and white, there are no easy answers, no easy cures. The decision have always been left up to the parents and that's what we said all along."

Katie was diagnosed in January with Hodgkin's disease, a cancer of the lymph nodes.

After initial rounds of chemotherapy, the tumor in her chest appeared gone and the Werneckes refused the radiation treatments that M.D. Anderson doctors recommended.

Wells said Monday that Katie's chances of surviving the disease had dwindled from 80 percent to as low as 20 percent.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Judge Allows Katie Wernecke to Seek Alternative Cancer Treatment


The legal battle over whether 13-year-old Katie Wernecke should be forced to undergo cancer treatment was back in court Friday.

Focus on the case, began back in June, when Katie went into hiding with her mother to avoid treatment for Hodgkins Disease. They were found June 4, at a family ranch near Freer. Michelle Wernecke was arrested and Katie was placed in a foster home.

On June 10, court ordered tests and found active cancer cells in Katie. Judge Carl Lewis ruled she had to undergo medical treatment and remain in foster care until the treatment was completed.

During a September 6 hearing, Judge Lewis was told that Katie was refusing her cancer treatment. Two weeks later, on September 20th, Judge Lewis signed an order cutting off all contact between Katie and her parents, because he believed Mr. & Mrs. Wernecke were still trying to block Katie's medical treatment. Then, on October 14, Judge Lewis recused himself from the Wernecke case.

District Judge Jack Hunter, who has taken over the case, held an emergency hearing Friday to decide if Katie should continue her chemotherapy. He ruled that Katie would undergo chemotherapy treatment Friday.

However, he made a very controversial decision. Against the wishes of the state, Katie will be allowed to seek alternative medicine treatment.

"People are pulling her back and forth. I want that as court to stop. I don't care how it is. I want the child taken of," Judge Hunter said. With that passionate plea, Judge Hunter came to a compromise. After Katie recovers from chemotherapy, she and one or both of her parents will go to Wichita, Kansas.

There a doctor will examine her and determine if she's fit for an alternative form of cancer treatment, which includes giving her Vitamin C injections. Katie's parents and their attorney were not in court Friday, but argued via conference call, that previous court decisions didn't allow them the ability to seek other treatments.

"Then we want that order changed your honor, because we don't think it's the proper way to handle a situation like this," said Wernecke family attorney James Pikle. In light of the judges decision, the state still isn't happy. They fear that Katie's parents may not return the child once out of Texas.

"CPS can not agree to let her leave the state. That would have to be a decision of the court," said Asst. Nueces County Attorney Thomas Stuckey. They also say if Katie doesn't continue with her chemotherapy, then she's at risk of dying.

The state also gave insight into Katie's frail health. They said Katie's chances of surviving this cancer have dropped significantly from 80% to near 20%. The reason, they said was the constant delays in her chemotherapy treatment.
Online Reporter:
Andres Araiza


Order Dismissing The TDFPS As Temporary Managing Conservator Nov 2, 2005

ORDERED that Annette Sultemeier, CASA, is hereby dismissed as Guardian ad litem for Katie Wernecke.

ORDERED that Linda Rhodes-Schauer is hereby dismissed as Attorney ad litem for Katie Wernecke.

ORDERED that Katie Wernecke stay in the temporary managaing conservatorship of the Department until the physicians at M.D. Anderson Hospital in Houston, Texas, state Katie Wernecke, following her recent round of chemotherapy, is medically stable and can be released for travel to her parents. It is further ORDERED that any future care until her present release is limited to the care necessary to make Katie ready to leave the care of M.D. Anderson Hospital and abe returned to her parents, including but not limited to any care associated with chemotherapy, hospitalization, stabilization of her blood counts, or other procedures or protocols designed to make Katie ready for release to travel.

ORDERED that upon Katie Wernecke being released for travel, TDFPS shall deliver Katie Wernecke to her parents at M.D. Anderson Hospital, Houston, Texas, and the parents shall confer with the treatment team regarding her current medications, treatment, and care.

ORDERED that Edward and Michele Wernecke shall consult with Katie Wernecke about all future medical care for Katie, and shall take into account Katie's expressed preference, desires, or needs relating to such care, provided however, that the ultimate decision on Katie's future medical care shall remain with Katie's prents until Katie reaches majority.

ORDERED that the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (TDFPS) is dismissed as temporary managing conservator of Katie Wernecke upon her being released to her parents.

ORDERED that this is the final Order of the Court in this case and herby disposes of all parties and all claims in controvery. All other and further relief requested in this case by any pary is hereby DENIED.

Signed this 2 day of Nov. 2005

Hon Jack Hunter, Judge Presiding.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Katie To Return To Parents

Judge's ruling ends months of state custody
By Kathryn Garcia
Caller-TimesNovember 1, 2005

Fearing for the ill teen's life, a judge decided after a hearing Monday afternoon to return 13-year-old cancer patient Katie Wernecke to her family after she spent more than four months in state custody.

Judge Jack Hunter dismissed Child Protective Services from supervising Katie's medical treatment and awarded her parents custody.

"CPS and the Werneckes are never going to coexist," Hunter said. "If I leave it up to CPS and the Werneckes that child will die. This has gone on far too long, and we've lost valuable time."
Katie's chances of survival have dropped from 80 percent to about 20 percent because of delays in treatment for her Hodgkin's disease, a cancer of the lymph nodes, said Katie's treating pediatric oncologist Dr. Robert Wells.

Katie's treatments have been the focus of a state custody battle since June 4 when she was removed from her parents after they refused to allow radiation treatments. The Werneckes have said they are fearful of the treatment's side effects. Katie has been undergoing treatments at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

"She'll be back where she belongs at home with her family. I'll be able to sleep again," said Katie's mother Michele Wernecke. Michele Wernecke grew grief-stricken during the hearing, begging Hunter to return Katie to her. "I'm going to try everything to bring back Katie's emotional and physical health," Michele Wernecke said. "I hope and pray she'll live a long life."

Hunter ordered that the Werneckes continue treating Katie at M.D. Anderson. Katie is scheduled to undergo a medical scan Nov. 14 to see if the recent chemotherapy was successful, Wells said. Katie also is scheduled to meet with a radiation oncologist Nov. 16, he said.

Family law attorney Luis Corona, who represents Katie's parents, said he doesn't believe Hunter's order regarding treatment at M.D. Anderson is "legally admissible" because a judge can't order medical treatment if CPS isn't involved. "We're going to have to come back and clarify in the order," Corona said. The order will be worked out and signed later in the week, Hunter said.

Michele and Edward Wernecke plan on Nov. 7 to take Katie to pursue alternative intravenous Vitamin C treatments in Wichita, Kan., which Edward Wernecke said will cure her cancer.
Wells said Katie could be well enough to take the trip, but only advised Katie leave for one week and not receive high doses of Vitamin C, which can have a negative effect on the radiation treatments. If she leaves for a longer period, Wells said her chances of survival would be compromised. "If treatment is stopped again, the disease will come back and she'll eventually die from Hodgkin's disease," Wells said. "If she's gone more than a month, I'll only be able to give her palliative care."

Edward Wernecke said he would do everything possible to ensure his daughter's survival, even if that means continuing her treatments in Houston, but did say the prescribed treatment might not be congruous with the alternative treatments.

Katie testified from M.D. Anderson where she was receiving a blood transfusion saying she was tired but wanted to receive the prescribed chemotherapy and radiation treatments in addition to the intravenous Vitamin C. "I want to go home," Katie repeated several times during her phone conversation.

CPS spokesman Aaron Reed said CPS hopes Katie will continue receiving treatments.
"Mr. Wernecke told the judge in court he would continue the treatment. We certainly hope he'll do that," Reed said. "We certainly hope and pray that she'll have a full recovery."

Contact Kathryn Garcia at 886-3792 or HYPERLINK Copyright 2005, All Rights Reserved.