In an unexpected turn, doctors at a hospital in the northern French city of Reims announced Thursday that they had postponed withdrawing food and water from a severely brain-damaged man.
No doubt more details will come out in the days to come. But for now…
There seemed to be little chance the parents of Vincent Lambert would carry the day for their son, who was greatly injured in a motorbike accident in 2008. His parents had lost consistently up to and including a June decision by the European Court of Human Rights that ending artificial nutrition and hydration did not violate Article 2 of the which guarantees the right to life.
But earlier today the hospital issued statement saying that “the conditions of calm and security necessary to continue this procedure are not in place, neither for Vincent Lambert nor his medical team.”
According to the Associated Press, the “case will now be referred to the prosecutor’s office to designate a legal representative to protect Lambert.”
But according to the BBC, “Mr. Lambert’s father, Pierre, told French media that the hospital had spoken of a project to abduct him. But when the family asked for more information, doctors ‘did not want to talk about it further.’” This could mean anything but in the process smears pro-lifers whom a couple of accounts accused of plotting to kidnap Vincent.
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More neutral stories, such as the one at France24.com, said the doctors “were due to announce their decision Thursday but failed to come to an agreement.”
Mr. Lambert’s wife and six of his siblings wish to withdraw his food and fluids. His parents, supported by two of Lambert’s sisters and a half-brother, have vowed to fight on to keep the 38-year-old former psychiatric nurse alive. They claim that he is not in a “persistent vegetative state,” but responsive.
It was always known that initial impetus in January 2014 to withdraw his food and fluids came from the medical team at the hospital. However according to expatica.com
But this decision was taken without consulting his parents, who then won a court application to stop the plan, calling it “akin to torture.”
A judge ruled the withdrawal breached his right to life. In the interim, Lambert miraculously survived 31 days with no food and very little water, according to Michael Cook.
The parents appealed to the State Council (the French supreme administrative court) which commissioned three doctors to determine Mr. Lambert’s condition.
In June 2014 they “ruled that withdrawing care from a person with no hope of recovery was lawful” under France’s 2005 “passive euthanasia” law. That conclusion was upheld last month by European Convention on Human Rights.
“Doctors launched a new consultation process after the rights court’s decision, this time including his parents,” expatica.com reported.
The doctors’ decision further angered the pro-withdrawal side of the family, but delighted Lambert’s parents.
“It’s a great relief,” said his mother, Viviane Lambert. “Because, at the hospital Vincent is in, the doctor has requested global protection from public prosecutor and now we must wait.”
Mrs. Lambert added, “So, that must mean people are recognising that our son is alive, since they want to protect him.”
LifeNews.com Note: Dave Andrusko is the editor of National Right to Life News and an author and editor of several books on abortion topics. This post originally appeared at National Right to Life News Today.