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Doctors Began to Let Him Die. Then, the 'Stunning Twist'

Paris court orders Vincent Lambert's life support to resume
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted May 21, 2019 10:00 AM CDT
Updated May 25, 2019 11:40 AM CDT
In this July 23, 2015, file photo, Viviane and Pierre Lambert, left, parents of Vincent Lambert, arrive at Sebastopol Hospital in Reims, France, where Vincent, who's currently on artificial life support,...   (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)

(Newser) – On Monday doctors cut the nutrition and hydration that has been keeping Vincent Lambert alive, in what appeared to be the final chapter in an 11-year medical saga. It wasn't: His life support was resumed 12 hours later, reports Reuters, following a Monday night court order from the Paris Court of Appeal. It was a move that had Lambert's mother declaring, "For once I am proud of the courts." Her stance, along with that of her husband's, is opposite that of Lambert's wife, who has sought to have his feeding tubes removed. The latest:

  • Lambert has been a quadriplegic and in a vegetative state since a 2008 motorcycle accident. Though he can breathe on his own and sometimes open his eyes, his wife, Rachel, has maintained he wouldn't want to be kept alive in such a state and had stated as much. He had no written end-of-life directive, however.
  • The New York Times calls the development a "stunning twist" and explains that doctors had already started to give Lambert powerful sedatives when the court order came through. While euthanasia isn't permitted in France, patients who are terminally ill or otherwise unable to recover may be removed from life support and sedated until they die.

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