Since a traffic accident in 2008, Vincent Lambert has been in a semi-vegetative state. But now, French courts are ordering his life to end. Living in a hospital in Reims, the 42-year-old former nurse can sleep and wake up, responds to certain voices, and can swallow and breath on his own. Though he isn’t dependent on machines to live, he does require medical assistance for proper nutrition and hydration. The decision to move forward to end Lambert’s life came from France’s top court The Cour de Cassation which overruled a court order, forcing doctors to keep the patient alive a mere 12 hours after his life support was turned off against his parents’ desires.
“In May, when learning about his planned death, he cried,” Lambert’s mother, Viviane, said, adding she had turned to the UN Committee of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, arguing to them that her son was experiencing a form of discrimination “because the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities prohibits depriving a person of food and drink.” Both Lambert’s parents, who oppose euthanizing their son, are Catholic and are supported by two of his siblings. His remaining six brothers and sisters, as well as his wife Rachel, would like to end Lambert’s life. Viviane argues removing her son’s feeding tube would be akin to “murder.” “I beg you, help us,” she said.
“Without your intervention, my son, Vincent Lambert, will be euthanized because of his mental handicap.” The case has sparked a renewed debate in France over euthanasia. Bobby Schindler, president of the Terri Schiavo Life and Hope Network, responded to the court’s ruling by describing the decision as “a crime against common sense.” “Vincent is being intentionally killed by the French state by a denial of food and water,” he said. “If we treated any other disabled person this way, it would be rightly seen as an outrageous injustice.” Schindler added, “We have to awaken consciences to recognize the humanity and dignity of Vincent Lambert and those like him.”
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