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France's Top Court Ends Tug-of-War in Landmark Right-to-Die Case

Clears way for doctors to end life support for Vincent Lambert
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 30, 2019 5:04 PM CDT
France's Top Court Makes Decision in Landmark Right-to-Die Case
Viviane Lambert, mother of Vincent Lambert, a Frenchman who has been comatose for seven years, wipes a tear as she listens to a verdict about her son in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, eastern France, Friday, June 5, 2015.   (AP Photo/Christian Lutz)

(Newser) – France's highest court has given doctors permission to restart procedures to stop feeding and hydrating a man who has been in a vegetative state following a car accident 11 years ago. The Court of Cassation quashed a previous decision by a Paris court to resume life support so the United Nations can examine the case, the AP reports. Vincent Lambert was injured in a 2008 car accident, and his parents and wife disagree on whether to keep him alive artificially.

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After years of legal battles, doctors decided to stop giving him food and liquids in May. But the parents appealed to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, arguing the 42-year-old should be treated as disabled. The Court of Cassation ruled that the Paris court was not competent in the case. "There are no more legal obstacles that stand in the way of resuming the end of the treatments as of now," a lawyer for Lambert's wife said Friday, per the New York Times. But a lawyer for Lambert's parents threatened to file a complaint for murder if doctors stopped treatment. (Much more on the case here.)

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