After the family of a French disabled man lost another battle to try to stop a hospital from removing his food and water, doctors have begun starving Vincent Lambert to death.
Lambert’s family has been battling in court for years over his medical care. Medical experts say he breathes on his own and his organs are functioning normally. His mother, Viviane Lambert, said Vincent also “looks at me” and attempts to “vocalize at length.” But courts have ruled that University Hospital of Reims may remove his food and water against his parents’ wishes.
In 2008, Lambert was in a motorcycle accident that caused brain damage. In 2015, his wife petitioned the court to have all treatment and care ceased including food and water. His parents urged that their son be transferred to a rehabilitation center. Though his parents are fighting for his life, his wife and some other family members believe he has no quality of life and should be taken off food and water.
Now, pro-life attorneys from Life Legal Foundation tell LifeNews he’s being starved to death again.
France’s highest civil court today ruled that Vincent Lambert must die by starvation and dehydration. Vincent was nearly made dead last month, but at the eleventh hour, an appellate court ordered that his food and water be restored. Today’s order appears to be final, as Vincent’s parents have exhausted all of their legal remedies to keep their son alive.
As this goes to press, Vincent is being heavily sedated. Why? Because they know that death by starvation and dehydration is excruciating. Advocates for euthanizing Vincent say they want him to die with “dignity.” But there is nothing dignified about withholding food and water from a disabled person.
“In any other context, killing by starvation and dehydration is considered a crime against humanity,” said Life Legal Executive Director Alexandra Snyder. “Yet in France-as in the United States-we routinely impose this type of torturous death on individuals who are disabled. This has to stop. Disability should not be a death sentence.”
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In 2015, according to the publication thelocal.fr (a French newspaper printed in English), “Some of his friends and family who are against taking the man off life support uploaded a video to YouTube … that they claim shows Lambert responding to them.” Watch the video here.
Commenting on the case in 2018, Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, said the case amounts to euthanasia.
“To intentionally kill a person by withdrawing fluids, when the person is not otherwise dying is euthanasia by dehydration since the person is directly and intentionally killed by dehydration,” Schadenberg said.
Last spring, Pope Francis also spoke out on behalf of Lambert and Alfie Evans, a British toddler who died after a hospital removed his life support against his parents’ wishes.
“I entrust to your prayer persons such as Vincent Lambert in France, little Alfie Evans in England, and others in several countries who live, sometimes for a long time, in a state of grave illness, assisted medically for their primary needs,” the pope said.
Pope Francis said the situations are “delicate”, “painful” and “complex,” but he urged society to respect the value of every human life.
Many have compared Lambert’s case to that of Terri Schindler Schiavo in America.
Research in 2018 by the renowned American Academy of Neurology found that about four in 10 people who are thought to be unconscious are actually aware. They estimated the misdiagnosis rate is about 40 percent for people with severe brain injuries, including those diagnosed as persistent vegetative state (PVS), and noted that the misdiagnosis can lead to inappropriate treatment and poor outcomes.
A hopeful sign, approximately one in five people with severe brain injury from trauma will recover with proper treatment – many to the point that they can live at home and care for themselves without help, according to the academy.