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Frenchman at the center of life support battle dies

by Onize Ohikere
Posted 7/11/19, 11:54 am

The family of Vincent Lambert has confirmed he died at a hospital east of Paris on Thursday morning after 11 years of court battles over whether to discontinue his food and fluids. Doctors began to discontinue Lambert’s life support last week after a final ruling from France’s highest court. France does not allow euthanasia, but it does allow doctors to stop providing nutrition and hydration to someone deemed terminally ill or terminally injured.

In 2008, Lambert, a French psychiatric nurse, was in a motorcycle accident that left him mentally impaired and unable to move or eat. He had received food and fluids through a feeding tube at Reims University Hospital but was able to breathe on his own. Lambert’s wife, Rachel, pushed for removal of the tube for years, saying he never would have wanted artificial life support. His Catholic parents, along with two of his eight siblings, fought for continued tube feeding and wanted to put Lambert in a facility for those with disabilities.

On Wednesday, more than 300 people in support of maintaining measures to keep Lambert alive gathered for a vigil outside the Saint-Sulpice Catholic Church in Paris. Some prayed, while others held signs that read, “Indignation.”

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Onize Ohikere

Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.

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  •  West Coast Gramma's picture
    West Coast Gramma
    Posted: Thu, 07/11/2019 12:43 pm

    This is so similar to the Terri Schiavo tragedy in America a few years back. As a Christian, I held a minority viewpoint back then, and I am sure my viewpoint will be attacked here.

    I believe in Scripture. What do the following verses mean?

    ...'Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'?
     6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate." (Mat 19:5-6 ESV)

    Ephesians 5:31 "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." (Eph 5:31 ESV)

    If a spouse does not have the legal right to interpret and help to enforce the other spouse's end of life desires, doesn't that negate the above Scriptures? Not everyone has written out their end-of-life requests. For those who haven't, who is closer to a dying person than their spouse?

  • My Two Cents
    Posted: Thu, 07/11/2019 12:58 pm

    Situations like this are heart-breaking, and I don't think are answered with any hard and fast rules. In the Teri Shaivo case, her husband did not appear to have his wife's best interests at heart. He was even accused of trying to kill her. Even while Teri was in her "vegetative state," he had another woman. 

    I do not condemn a family for making these difficult choices for their loved ones. I agree with West Coast Grandma that generally speaking, the spouse should certainly make the decisions, and not the extended family. 


  •  West Coast Gramma's picture
    West Coast Gramma
    Posted: Thu, 07/11/2019 02:09 pm

    Reply to My Two Cents: I appreciate your response to my comments. They added to the discussion, rather than attack the person. You gave reasons and details to explain your position. You agreed where possible. Last, but not least, you respectfully used my full nom de plume, not a nickname, as many who respond to me do. Thank you! You established a good model for wholesome discussion and disagreement. I commend you.

  • Wayne Asbury
    Posted: Thu, 07/11/2019 05:52 pm

    These kind of problems are so hard and I don't know if there is one single answer that applies to every family. One other thing I would worry about when considering a loved ones best interest,  is the kind of abuse they could face in a facility. I never thought about this until I read "Ghost Boy" by Martin Pistorious.  When a person cannot talk or do anything for themselves, to place them at the mercy of strangers is really scary.  I think West Coast Grandma makes a valid point. Compassion isn't always simple or easy but often agonizingly difficult. 

  •  John Cogan's picture
    John Cogan
    Posted: Fri, 07/12/2019 10:39 pm

    Is allowing a man to die slowly over many days from dehydration a humane method of letting his life end? That is the question we need to answer. Wouldn't it be faster and far less cruel to give him an overdose of an opiate? At least we do that for our pets and it is fast and almost painless compared to dying slowly from thirst.

    I think it will not be long before the public sees the logic of this argument. Then we will embrace euthanasia for vegetative humans. And disabled humans. And Downs humans. And old humans. And baby humans. All humans whose life is not worth living. What the German National Socialists called, "Lebensunwertes leben." "Life unworthy of life."

  •  John Cogan's picture
    John Cogan
    Posted: Sat, 07/13/2019 11:29 am

    "For I was hungry and you gave me to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me drink..." Matthew 25:35.