After a grueling legal battle, French doctors have begun removing life support from a man who has been in a vegetative state for more than a decade – a decision that has split his family and sparked a heated national debate.
Vincent Lambert, who was paralyzed in a road accident in 2008, has become a political football in a fierce right-to-die vs right-to-live case, that has come before both French and European courts. Medical experts say that Lambert is in an irreversible vegetative state and has no chance of recovering.
His wife claims that he’d told her before his accident that he would not want to be kept alive under such circumstances, but no written proof of that directive exists. As a result, Lambert’s family has been torn apart by legal battles, with his wife and several siblings pitted against his mother and father, who insist that he be kept alive.
Lambert’s mother, who believes that stopping medical support for her son would be “akin to torture,” has even appealed to President Emmanuel Macron. Macron, however, has said that the matter should be decided by Lambert’s wife – who is his legal caretaker – and his doctors.
The tragic ordeal could have been easily avoided, Sheila Duffy, a press officer for Friends at the End, an organization that promotes awareness about end-of-life choices, told RT.
“In an ideal world, all of us should discuss our death with our loved ones,” Duffy said, noting that young people in particular should take measures to ensure that their end-of-life wishes are understood by their loved ones.