News / Europe

French Court Rules to End Life Support for Vegetative Man

Demonstrators dressed as mime artists hold placards that read "no to the euthanasia of elderly people, solidarity is urgent," at Trocadero plaza in Paris, France, June 24, 2014.
Demonstrators dressed as mime artists hold placards that read "no to the euthanasia of elderly people, solidarity is urgent," at Trocadero plaza in Paris, France, June 24, 2014.
VOA News
— France's top administrative court ruled on Tuesday that doctors should be allowed to take a tetraplegic man off life support after nearly six years in a coma, siding with his wife in a case that has revived a debate about euthanasia.
 
The Council of State ruled that doctors had the right to end the medical support that has kept Vincent Lambert, brain-damaged and in vegetative state, artificially alive since a motorbike accident on the way to work plunged him into a coma in September 2008.
 
Family split

The question of whether he should be kept alive artificially has split his family, and comes at a time of intense debate in France over euthanasia as the high-profile trial of a doctor accused of poisoning seven terminally ill patients takes place.
 
Doctors treating Lambert in the northeastern city of Reims, as well as his wife, Rachel, a nephew and six of his eight siblings want to cut off intravenous food and water supplies.
 
But his deeply religious Catholic parents, one brother and one sister oppose the decision and took the matter to court near Reims, which ruled against ending his life earlier this year.
 
Apart from places such as Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland, few countries in the world explicitly permit euthanasia or assisted suicide - sometimes known as mercy killings.
 
But France, where President Francois Hollande promised prior to his 2012 election to introduce new right-to-die legislation, has left grey areas regarding more passive forms of euthanasia in a 2005 law on patient rights and care for the terminally ill.
 
The move to take him off life support would be allowed in France, where passive euthanasia -- the act of withholding or withdrawing treatment that is necessary to maintain life -- was legalized in 2005.
 
Lambert's parents said even before the Council of State's Tuesday ruling that they had asked the European Court of Human Rights to issue an emergency ruling on the case should the French judges go against their will to keep their son, now in his late 30s, as he is.

European court to weigh in

The European court has the power to implement urgent, temporary measures "where there is an imminent risk of irreparable harm" and in this instance, could stop doctors from cutting life support pending a review of the case.
 
The international rights court, based in the eastern French city of Strasbourg, said in a statement it would respond “as soon as possible.”
 
While Hollande has yet to deliver on his promise of legislation by the end of the year on the rights of the incurably ill, the legal battles over Lambert's fate and other cases has thrust the euthanasia debate firmly back onto the radar screen.
 
As many as 25,000 people die a year in France after removal of medical support, according to Remi Keller, a member of the Council of State.
 
In a separate case, a hospital doctor in southwest France is on trial on charges that he used lethal injections to hasten the deaths of seven old-aged people in 2010-2011.

His lawyers say they intend to turn that trial into a debate about the wider issue of the boundaries of euthanasia.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AFP.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid