Monday, June 24, 2019

France's highest appeal court will hear death by dehydration (Lambert) case.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Vincent Lambert
France's top appeals court will hear the case concerning the withdrawal of food and fluids from Vincent Lambert, a man who was cognitively disabled in a motorcycle accident injury in 2008. 

In 2015, Lambert's 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. The legal battle concerning withdrawing fluids and food from Lambert has continued.

Euro news reported, on May 20, that doctors, at a hospital in Reims France, were sedating Lambert as part of the process to withdraw fluids and food and cause him to die by dehydration, as approved by a court order.

Vincent Lambert's mother.
Later, that day, Euro news reported that the Court of Appeal in Paris ordered that Lambert be fed and hydrated. The decision was in response to the UN Disability Rights Commission appeal. BBC news reported Lambert's mother as stating:

"They are going to restore nutrition and give him drink. For once I am proud of the courts," she said.
According to an article by Juliette Monteese published by AFP news:
the Cour de Cassation will begin examining whether a lower Paris court was within its rights to order that Lambert's feeding tubes be reinserted last month, just hours after doctors had begun switching off life support. 
The Cour de Cassation, which will not rule on the merits of maintaining Lambert's treatment, is expected to give its judgement later this week.
It is a disappointment that the court has limited the scope of its inquiry.

In early May, 2019, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of People with Disabilities intervened in the Lambert case stating that causing Lambert's death by dehydration contravened his rights as a person with disabilities. Section 25f of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities requires nations to:
25(f) Prevent discriminatory denial of health care or health services or food and fluids on the basis of disability.
Lambert is a cognitively disabled man who is not otherwise dying or nearing death. To directly and intentionally cause his death by withholding fluids is euthanasia by dehydration. If his fluids are withheld his death would not be from his medical condition but rather, he would die by dehydration, a terrible death.

1 comment:

Dearest Marie said...

The courts cannot decide the question who has the right to live. That is a slippery slope indeed!