July 11, 2019– Mary Greeley News – A quadriplegic patient in a vegetative state who had been the focus of a decade-long legal battle to maintain his life support has died in France after doctors ended treatment.
On July 2, medics switched off the feeding and hydration systems that had kept Vincent Lambert alive since a motorcycle accident in 2008.
He died at 8:25am on Thursday (local time).
“Now I hope he can rest in peace,” Mr Lambert’s nephew Francois told reporters.
The fate of the 42-year-old former psychiatric nurse tore apart his family and sparked fierce nationwide debate over the right to die in a country where euthanasia is illegal.
A lawyer for Mr Lambert’s parents, who fought for their son to be kept alive, said a “state crime” had been committed after France’s highest court ruled care could be terminated.
French media reported Lambert’s parents were to sue the medical team involved.
While euthanasia is outlawed in France, doctors may put terminally ill patients into deep sedation until death.
France’s Cour de Cassation last month overruled an appeals court which had ordered doctors to keep Mr Lambert alive, just 12 hours after medics had already switched off the man’s life support against his parents’ will.
Mr Lambert’s condition pitched his wife, some of his siblings and his nephews, against his staunchly Catholic parents and other relatives.
The parents argued their son was not terminally ill and that ending life support was tantamount to euthanasia.
Mr Lambert had almost no consciousness but could breathe without a respirator and occasionally moved his eyes at the hospital in Reims in north-eastern France.
“Vincent was in a vegetative state, he wouldn’t want to live that way,” his nephew Francois added.
“In respect for him, it was not right to keep him alive in these conditions.”
credit: In part with https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-07-11/vincent-lambert-dies-after-decade-long-life-support-fight/11301708