Tomorrow the European Court of Human Rights will deliver its Grand Chamber judgment in the case of Lambert and others v. France.
The judgment will determine whether Vincent Lambert (who is quadriplegic and in an altered state of consciousness) is allowed to live his handicapped life or whether he will be killed. The question the judges have to answer is whether the cutting of artificial feeding and hydration with the intention of terminating a patient’s life constitutes a violation of right to life and an inhuman and degrading treatment.
This is a very serious case for France (where a new bill on end-of-life issues is currently discussed in the National Assembly), but also for all Europe.
As one can read in the case summary issued by the ECtHR, the case goes back to an application filed by Vincent’s parents and siblings on their own as well as his behalf. They have done this to challenge a decision issued by the French Conseil d’Etat at the request of Vincent’s wife, according which it would be legal for the hospital in which he is treated to cut off artificial feeding and hydration, which would lead to him being slowly starved to death. Current French legislation, the so-called “Loi Leonetti”, provides a legal basis for the killing of helpless tetraplegic patients.
Mass media, many of which are supportive of euthanasia (which they falsely and absurdly describe as “self-determination”) have painted an image of Vincent Lambert being in a status similar to that of a vegetable: unable to feel pain and joy, unable to communicate, and therefore “worthless”. But this is not true. Please watch this video, produced in 2015 by his friends who created a support committee for Vincent Lambert.
Vincent is not a “vegetable”. He is truly alive. Vincent is handicapped, and because of his disability, we should take care of him. We should take care of him like we take care of the 1.700 other patients who are in the same condition in France (and how many in Europe?), instead of letting him die of hunger and thirst..