The United Nations has stepped in to ensure that a disabled French man will not be left to die of starvation.
Vincent Lambert, 42, has been in a semi-vegetative state for a decade after suffering severe brain damage in a 2009 motorbike accident. Ever since it became apparent that Lambert was not going to recover from his injuries, his life has been hanging in the balance as his right to healthcare is bounced from court to court.
As such, his family is divided on his future care. Lambert’s wife, nephew and five of his siblings want to withdraw his water and nutrition — a move that his doctors support.
However, his parents and two other siblings insist he deserves to live, and have campaigned for his continued care.
What have the courts said?
In April, the highest court in France, Conseil d’Etat, ruled that the medical decision to withdraw Lambert’s hydration and nutrition until his death was not unlawful.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which has a terrible track record in upholding the right to indefinite end-of-life care, agreed.
This was the second time that ECHR had turned down the family’s appeal for Vincent to be kept alive.
Why is the United Nations intervening?
With options running out for Lambert, a temporary reprieve has been granted by way of a concerned United Nations committee.
The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities ordered the French courts to reverse their decision on Lambert’s withdrawal, effectively commanding that doctors feed and hydrate Vincent while the committee carries out its own investigation into the case.
This is a massive challenge to the legal authority of both the French courts and the ECHR, who have been thoroughly pulled up on their atrocious decision to allow a man to starve to death.
“The only international body specializing in the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities will now decide on the conformity of the decisions” taken by doctors, Lambert’s parents’ lawyer, Jérôme Triomphe, told LifeSite News.
The courts must adhere to the UN under the “international commitments entered into by France for the protection of people with disabilities,” he added.
Extremely concerning decision by the courts
Experts in the field have noted their concern regarding such high courts making decisions that would allow the withdrawal of basic healthcare.
Dr. Anthony McCarthy of the Society for the Protection Unborn Children, noted that “nutrition and hydration delivered by tube, which is still sustaining the patient and is not unduly burdensome, is basic care, not extraordinary medical means.”
“Where is the ‘disproportionate’ burden here, including for the patient, who is supposedly unconscious?” McCarthy asked. “Is the aim not rather simply to dehydrate to death someone whose life is not considered to have value?”
“All of this is opposed to Hippocratic principles and to basic care of disabled and vulnerable people,” he added. “It is shocking that the case has had to be taken to such levels. I hope that the UN Committee stands against this attack on the dignity of patients which undermines us all.”
Faithwire will keep you updated as this story progresses. In the meantime, please pray for wisdom for all involved in Vincent Lambert’s case.