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France

Doctors to end life support for quadriplegic Frenchman Vincent Lambert

media This file photograph taken on December 8, 2014, by the parents of Vincent Lambert and released by their lawyer Jean Paillot, shows Vincent Lambert in his hospital bed AFP

Vincent Lambert's life support system is to be terminated following an appeals court ruling last Friday. Lambert has been in a vegatative state since a road accident in 2008.

French doctors have informed Lambert's family that they intend to begin shutting down his life support, in line with a court ruling issued last week.

The main doctor looking after Lambert, Vincent Sanchez, notified the family by email that he will shortly be removing the feeding tubes keeping Lambert alive.

Sanchez stressed to the family to make sure that “support for Mr Lambert is as peaceful, intimate and personal as possible.”

Following a road traffic accident in 2008, the 42-year-old has been in a vegetative state ever since, kept alive purely by life support machines.

Today's decision comes after years of legal battling to keep Lambert alive, which has left his family divided.

Last Friday, France’s highest appeals court, the Cour de Cassation, overturned a ruling which allowed for Lambert’s life support to continue.

Lambert’s parents are devout Catholics and along with two of his siblings, have fought in the courts to keep Lambert on life support, against his wife and six other brothers and sisters who have argued that it is best to turn off his life support.

A photograph of Vincent Lambert on artificial life support taken on September 28, 2014 Courtesy of the Lambert Family / AFP

Appeal to the United Nations

On Monday, Lambert’s mother, Viviane, appealed to the UN for help in her son’s case.

“Vincent is not at the end of his life, he is not a vegetable” she told press on the sidelines of a UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Rachel, Lambert’s wife is her husband’s legal guardian under French law and she has repeatedly insisted that her husband made it clear before the accident that he would not want to be kept alive artificially, however, this was never put into writing.

Doctors had attempted to remove the tubes keeping Lambert alive in the past, however, court orders obtained by his parents forced them to insert them again.

The French government recently rejected a request by the UN committee on disabled rights to keep Lambert alive whilst they conducted their own investigation, claiming that the request was ‘non-binding.’

 

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