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Vincent Lambert, Tribunal of Paris orders the resumption of treatments. The lawyer: “A great victory”

The nutrition and hydration of Vincent Lambert must be resumed. It’s the unexpected decision of the French court. The news was welcomed last night in Paris with cries of joy by thousands of people gathered on the streets in a show of solidarity with the young man and his parents. A pro-life prayer vigil promoted by all the bishops of Ile-de-France will take place this evening at 7.30 in the Church of Saint-Sulpice in Paris

(Foto: AFP/SIR)

Stunning twist in the case of Vincent Lambert. A few hours after medics had halted artificial nutrition and hydration that keep alive this 42-year-old man in vegetative state since 2008, the Paris Court of Appeal whom the parents had turned to, ordered the resumption of care. The Court “orders the French State (…) to take all necessary steps to respect the interim measures requested by the International Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (United Nations body which the parents had appealed to, Ed.’s note) on May 3 2019 to maintain nutrition and hydration.” The decision was welcomed with cries of joy and jubilation by the supporters of Vincent Lambert, gathered in thousands last evening for a solidarity march along the Champs-Elysees, in Paris. The lawyers of the parents of the patient expressed their contentment. “We won!” exclaimed lawyer Jean Paillot, “this means that the interim measures will be applied, namely the immediate resumption of feeding and hydration of Vincent. It’s a great victory. And many more will ensue.” The “provisional, six-month decision”, will allow “the United Nations committee to study the case”, the lawyer pointed out.

“We give thanks to God”, rejoiced Msgr. Bernard Ginoux, bishop of Montauban. “They listened to the appeal. A human decision was taken that enables to save Vincent’s life”, he declared. Pope Francis also intervened on the matter and in a tweet posted on the same day on which the doctors disconnected the machines he wrote: “We pray for those who live with severe illness. Let us always safeguard life, God’s gift, from its beginning until its natural end.”

“Let us not give in to a throwaway culture.”

The man in a vegetative state for the past 11 years is at the centre of a legal battle between his wife Rachel Lambert, who has repeatedly asked to switch off life support, and his parents, demanding to maintain treatment. After several rejected appeals, on April 24 France’s State Council ruled to stop treatment on the grounds that it complied with the will expressed by Lambert before the accident. His parents, Pierre e Viviane Lambert, had made a final appeal to Emmanuel Macron, against what they define a form of “concealed euthanasia.” But Jean Leonetti, co-author of the 2016 bill that regulates the end of life, replied that “the President of the Republic cannot substitute for court decisions, medical decisions, or change the law.”

A few days ago the French bishops spoke out. A strong stand was taken by the bioethics commission of the French Bishops’ Conference chaired by bishop Pierre D’Ornellas who declared in a release: “Vincent Lambert has the right to adequate protection, just like any disabled person. Every disabled person, no matter how fragile, is entitled to the same rights as everyone else.” In recalling the opinion of the CIDPH UN Committee, he asked:

“Why such haste in leading him to death?”

“It can be reaffirmed that the decision obviously concerns only Mr Vincent Lambert because his situation is unique and complex. But who can guarantee that all people with a disability similar to his will be effectively protected by the State which, although formally committed, has failed to meet its commitment so far? The State’s credibility depends on whether it meets its obligations.” All the bishops of the Île-de-France have convened the 11th Vigil for Life for this evening, Tuesday May 21,  which this year will take place in the church of Saint Suplice on the theme: “Before an ordeal, chose life.”

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