Vincent Lambert, the quadriplegic man who had been at the center of a debate over state-mandated assisted dying, has passed away aged 42.
Lambert, who had been in a vegetative state for 11 years following a traffic accident, died early Thursday morning, according to relatives cited at the BBC.
Lawyers representing the parents, who were campaigning to save their son’s life, said that in the wake of Vincent’s death the public should “meditate on this State crime.”
May God the Father welcome Vincent Lambert in His arms. Let us not build a civilization that discards persons those whose lives we no longer consider to be worthy of living: every life is valuable, always.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) July 11, 2019
“Vincent has died, killed for reasons of the State and by a doctor who has forsaken his Hippocratic oath. This cathedral of humanity that had been burning for a week under our powerless eyes has collapsed. No account has been taken of the dignity of this handicapped man, [who] was condemned because he was handicapped, they said.
After nine days of dehydration and starvation by France, 42-year-old Vincent Lambert has died. May he Rest In Peace.
And may all of us who are living—who have the health and freedom to speak—work tirelessly so that this crime against humanity is never committed again.
— Lila Rose (@LilaGraceRose) July 11, 2019
“For the first dignity of all is to respect a person’s life. Part of our common humanity has left us today, because this heinous wrongdoing that is shaking the foundation of our laws and civilization affects us all.”
The attorneys added that “the time has come for mourning and silent prayer.”
Keep repeating it until people understand: Vincent Lambert was not "taken off life support." He was starved and dehydrated for a week by the state until he died.
If this were suggested as a form of capital punishment, it would be rejected by the courts as cruel and unusual. https://t.co/bSgECT179M
— Matt Swaim (@mattswaim) July 11, 2019
Last Tuesday, medics started removing life-sustaining equipment from the former nurse after a final ruling by France’s highest appeals court. The protracted legal battle between Vincent’s parents and the French and European court system has now ended.
On Sunday, Pierre and Vivianne watched helplessly as doctors began to remove their son’s water and feeding tubes at Sebastopol Hospital in the northern city of Reims. Vincent was able to sleep and wake up, responded to certain voices, and could swallow and breath on his own, according to Reuters.
The Catholic parents called the court’s decision “madness,” and insisted that Vincent was not brain-dead but merely “handicapped.” They hoped to move him to a specialist facility.
More than 1,500 people gathered in silence at this church to mourn the death of Vincent Lambert - murdered by the French authorities by starvation. May God bless him and keep him. https://t.co/equRkh51iE
— Emerald Robinson (@EmeraldRobinson) July 11, 2019
“It’s murder in disguise, it’s euthanasia,” 90-year-old Pierre told reporters, according to the Guardian.
Vincent’s doctor urged the parents to ensure that their “support is as peaceful, intimate and personal as possible,” in the days leading up to his death.
.@ProtecttheFaith If you do not give food and drink to your pet and the animal dies, you will be arrested by the police for animal cruelty. But letting a person die like that ..... that is of course allowed nowadays. Please pray for #VincentLambert ! pic.twitter.com/2abEEReHYA
— Liefde&Trouw (@LiefdeTrouw) July 2, 2019
In early May, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities ordered both the French courts, and the agreeing European Court on Human Rights, to reverse their decision on Lambert’s withdrawal of treatment, commanding that doctors feed and hydrate Vincent while the committee carried out its own investigation into the case.
In a final ruling, France’s highest legal body, the Cour de Cassation, overruled that appeal and effectively signed his death warrant.