A Costa Mesa woman raced back to Bakersfield Tuesday to hold her dying, incarcerated brother's hand after she and her niece were kicked out of his hospital room Friday because they had used up their allotted visitation hours.
Howard Irving Vines, 59, was serving a 15-year sentence for rape at Valley State Prison when he was admitted to San Joaquin Community Hospital last week with what family members said was a failing liver.
The prison had called the inmate's sister, Cindy Brenneman, 57, of Costa Mesa, to notify her that Vines was brain dead, and she drove up from Orange County to say goodbye, she said. Brenneman also called Vines' 30-year-old daughter, Vanessa Barnett, who flew in from Nashville, Tenn.
The pair visited with Vines on Thursday and part of Friday. They had planned to stay by his side until the end after he was removed from life support about 4 p.m., but a prison guard told them they had used up their time for the day and had to leave.
They couldn't believe it.
"We didn't want him to die alone," said Barnett. "We weren't causing any problems. We were just sitting quietly by his bedside waiting for him to pass away, and they just booted us out like we were nothing."
Barnett and Brenneman were so distraught that they seriously considered asking that Vines be intubated again until they could assert their visitation rights. They tried desperately to appeal to hospital administrators and officials at the prison, but weren't able to reach anyone with the authority to override the guard's order…..Prison rules limit family's time with dying inmate - BakersfieldCalifornian.com