Parents in last-ditch fight against doctor in right-to-die case
Flurry of legal action before life support is switched off for French quadriplegic with severe brain damage
The parents of a Frenchman kept alive in a vegetative state for a decade will on Monday try to have the doctor caring for their son removed before he halts life-sustaining treatment the same day, their lawyers said.
The last-ditch move by the parents of Vincent Lambert – left quadriplegic with severe brain damage after a 2008 car accident – aims to have the doctor immediately struck off France’s medical register, the lawyers said on Sunday.
The parents would also seek to have the doctor, Vincent Sanchez, criminally prosecuted and lodge new appeals to continue care for Lambert, they added.
The flurry of legal action spoke to the desperation of the parents just ahead of the planned halt on Monday of the nutrition and hydration Lambert receives in Sebastopol Hospital in the northern French city of Reims.
They have already pleaded with President Emmanuel Macron to step in and override the court order.
But the case has torn their family apart, pitting them legally and emotionally against other relatives who concur with doctors that the humane path, given Lambert’s condition, is to end life support.
In 2014, the doctors, backed by Lambert’s wife Rachel, five of his siblings and his nephew Francois, decided to stop his nutrition and hydration in line with France’s passive euthanasia law.
His parents, devout Catholics, and his half-brother and sister obtained a court order to block the move on grounds his condition might improve with better treatment.But in early 2019, a French court sided with Sanchez’s decision to stop the care keeping Lambert, now 42, alive, in line with the law.France’s Conference of Bishops added its voice to the controversy on Saturday, calling on authorities to wait on an opinion being worked on by a UN committee on disabled rights.“Why this rush to lead him to death?” the clerics asked.