Starvation of Vincent Lambert to begin today
2 July 2019
Vincent Lambert is fed with tubes, but is not dying. Image: FAMILY HANDOUT/AFP/File
“We are about to see the deliberate killing of a vulnerable person, who is not dying, because some members of his family do not want to see him in a diminished condition."
Doctors are to remove the feeding tube from French paralysed road accident victim Vincent Lambert today, it is reported.
Years long fight over a man's life
Vincent Lambert, a 42 year-old former psychiatric nurse, who was left cognitively disabled and in a minimally conscious state after a motorcycle accident injury in 2008, has been at the centre of a highly controversial “right to die” case for the last six years.
His wife, Rachel, who is his legal guardian, has been petitioning along with doctors and other family members, to have his nutrition and hydration removed, while his parents have been campaigning to keep him alive.
Doctors at the hospital in Reims, northern France, have made five attempts previously to remove life support before being forced to reinstate it following court rulings obtained by Mr Lambert's parents.
Food and water to be removed today
However, last Friday, France’s highest appeals court, the Cour de Cassation, overturned a ruling which allowed for Mr Lambert’s life support to continue. Now, in line with this ruling, Vincent Sanchez, the main doctor looking after Mr Lambert, has notified the family by email that he will shortly be removing his feeding tubes – meaning he will die of dehydration and starvation.
Mr Lambert gained a stay of execution in May, when The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities intervened and asked France to suspend the decision to halt the intravenous food and water keeping him alive while it conducted its own investigation. The French government rejected the request as “non-binding”.
"Please don't let them murder my son"
On Monday, Lambert’s mother, Viviane, appealed to the UN to stop the murder of her son.
“I beg you, help us,” Madame Lambert told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
“Without your intervention, my son, Vincent Lambert, will be euthanised because of his mental handicap,” she said.
It appears that her pleas have fallen on deaf ears, and France has condemned a disabled man to die in the cruellest possible way.
Deliberate killing of vulnerable person
John Deighan Deputy CEO of SPUC responded to the news: “We are about to see the deliberate killing of a vulnerable person, who is not dying, because some members of his family do not want to see him in a diminished condition. No-one ever wants a family member to suffer mental disability but the real loving response is to support a person in their need. I can only imagine the anguish of his parents who will have to witness him being so callously killed by dehydration when they are desperate to care for him. Those who participate in killing Mr Lambert cannot hide behind claims that they are following the law. No court can legitimately sanction the killing of an innocent human being. That’s the principle that was establish at Nuremberg; how can they dare to forget.”