Following nine days of starvation — after French courts gave the green light to his slow, torturous means of death at the hands of French doctors — 42-year-old Vincent Lambert passed away Thursday.
The Catholic Herald reported that Lambert, a disabled French man and former nurse died in Reims, France, after a years-long legal battle between his wife and his parents.
The Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life tweeted that Lambert’s death was a “defeat for our humanity.” In a separate statement, Pope Francis urged: “Let us not build a civilization that discards persons those whose lives we no longer consider to be worthy of living: every life is valuable, always.”
Lambert was left quadriplegic after sustaining massive head injuries during a 2008 traffic accident. His wife wanted to take him off life support years ago; his parents didn’t. After years of legal battles that went all the way to the European Court of Human Rights, the Court of Cassation overruled an order from May to maintain Lambert’s feeding and hydration support in late June, a story at Aleteia explained.
On July 2, doctors informed the family that Lambert’s tube would be removed, effectively condemning the man to a slow death by starvation and dehydration.
Following the July decision, Lambert’s mother, Viviane, issued a final, desperate plea to save her son.
“I am launching a call for help today. Without your intervention, my son will be euthanized due to his brain handicap,” Viviane told the a U.N. panel in Geneva, explaining that her son was “in a state of minimal conscience but he is not a vegetable.”
“In May, when learning about his planned death, [Vincent] cried,” Viviane continued. “We are deeply upset this is why we have turned to the U.N. Committee of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities because the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities prohibits depriving a person of food and drink.”
“He sleeps at night, wakes up during the day, and looks at me when I talk,” Viviane said. “He only needs to be fed through a special device and his doctor wants to deprive him of this so that he can die, while legal experts have have shown that this is not necessary.”
“It’s murder in disguise,” Vincent’s 90-year-old father, Pierre Lambert, told reporters at the hospital earlier this week. “It’s euthanasia.”