PARIS – A top court in France on Friday paved the way for a life-long suspension from a man who has been killed in a state of affairs for more than a decade.
The court in Paris struck down a lower court's ruling that had ordered doctors to continue the artificially feeding and hydrating the patient, Vincent Lambert, 42, a nurse who was injured in a car accident in 2008.
Mr. Lambert did not leave a written statement about his end-of-life wishes, and his family has been bitterly divided over his treatment. His parents and others say that he is not alive. His wife, Rachel Lambert, and others said: "The Ruling on Friday, a lawyer for Mr. Lambert's wife, said that the end of this dispute. "
Still, it was not immediately clear when Mr. Lambert might be taken off life support. A lawyer for Mr. Lambert's parents has filed a complaint with the procedure.
Doctors have declined to take Mr. Lambert off life support in 2015 despite a court order, because they said there was Not enough "serenity and security" in the case of hospital staff members had received anonymous threats.
Medical experts define a vegetative state as a condition in which the brain and controls no longer work, but vital functions such as the sleep cycle, body temperature control and breathing persist.
Doctors first decided to remove Mr. Lambert from life support in 2013, in consultation with his wife, after years of physical therapy and care had failed to improve his condition.
The court ruled that France had to put to a halt his case by a United Nations-affiliated body, the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, where Mr. Lambert's parents had been referred to his case, and which he had. [19659002OnFridaytheCourdeCassationFrance'shighestjudicialcourtstruckdowntheruling
While euthanasia is illegal in France, the law allows "passive euthanasia," in which terminally ill or injured patients with no chan
Mr. Lambert's parents, observant Roman Catholics who are supported by pro-life activists, argue that he is not terminally ill but disabled, and that he does not fall under the purview of France's legislation regarding end-of-life decisions.
Mr. Lambert's wife and her supporters point to multiple medical assessments that in an irreversible state of vegetative state, and to court ruling that said "unreasonable obstinacy"
In its ruling Friday, the Cour de Cassation had to settle a legal point that arose because of the existence in France of two parallel court systems: an administrative one, which handles claims against national or local governments or against public administrations, and a judicial one, which
Mr. Lambert's case was last handled only by administrative courts court – a judicial court – had been ruled that Mr. Lambert's situation was the rare exception in which a judicial court can intervene in such cases – when the French State is infringing on someone's "personal freedom."
In his ruling on Friday, the Cour de Cassation said the court had overreached and that Mr. Lambert was not in a situation, like in arbitrary detention, where his personal freedom was at risk.
French law gives the possibility, "under certain conditions, to cease giving vital treatments to a patient," the court noted in a statement that several administrative courts, as well as the European Court of Human Rights, had ruled in favor of Mr. Lambert's wife.
The French state, the court concluded, was not bound by the Committee on the Lambert on life support.
Rights of Persons With Disabilities