European court authorizes starvation and dehydration of severely brain-injured man

Parents vow to fight decision

By Dave Andrusko

Vincent Lambert

Vincent Lambert

The parents of Vincent Lambert say they will appeal a decision of the European Court of Human Rights that food and water can be withdrawn from their son, who was severely brain injured in a 2008 motorcycle accident.

The family has split over Mr. Lambert’s care, according to reporter Henry Samuel. In 2014 six of his siblings and his wife backed a doctor’s request to withdraw food and fluid, appealing to France’s 2005 “passive euthanasia law.”

However, as NRL News Today reported last year, Lambert’s parents, half-brother and sister appealed a court decision authorizing the withdrawal. Samuel reports

In an appeal, the French supreme administrative court, known as the State Council, ordered three doctors to draw up a report on Lambert’s condition and in June ruled that the decision to withdraw care from a man with no hope of recovery was lawful.

Lambert’s parents then took the case to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which ordered France to keep Lambert alive while they deliberated on whether the State Council’s decision was in line with the European Convention on Human Rights.

Eric Kariger, the doctor who made the initial request in January 2014 to stop Lambert’s food and fluids, told France Info: “This is a small step for Vincent Lambert and his wife, but probably a giant step for our humanity.”

The parents vehemently disagreed. “It’s scandalous,” said his mother Viviane following the ruling. “They are condemning my son. We will remain by Vincent’s side and will continue to fight.”

Among other points Lamberts’ parents will raise is that Kariger has left the Reims university hospital where there son is being treated, Samuel reported.

As is typically the case in the reporting of such cases, Lambert is variously described as “quadriplegic,” “in a vegetative state,” and “severely brain damaged,” as if they were equivalent and interchangeable descriptions.

And, as is also so often the case, Kariger made his recommendation “after Lambert appeared to resist attempts to be fed, suggesting he wished to die.”

How convenient.