What happens when the government is put in charge of your healthcare? Well, sometimes, apparently, it’s this.
In 2008, 42 year-old Frenchman Vincent Lambert was in a car accident which left him a quadriplegic.
Fast-forward to last week, when France took away his food and water, dooming him to death.
As reported by Bioedge:
The Cour de Cassation overruled an appeals court which had directed doctors to keep Mr. Lambert alive pending a review of his situation by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities. Doctors plan to remove his hydration and nutrition, while keeping him as comfortable as possible while he dies of thirst and starvation. His treating doctor, Vincent Sanchez, urged his family to make sure that “support to Mr. Vincent Lambert is as peaceful, intimate and personal as possible.”
Peaceful, intimate, personal…that sounds nice. But then there’s that whole “forced to become no longer alive” part.
And it’s more than just a slippery slope, as noted by the European Center for Law and Justice:
Vincent Lambert has since become the symbol of the implementation of euthanasia in France, and beyond. Should he be euthanized, 1,700 other persons in the same state of health in France could suffer the same fate. The truth is that, according to his medical condition, he is not dying and could live many more years, if it wasn’t for the physician in charge of him.
The various diagnoses established throughout the judicial process indicate that Vincent Lambert is in a chronic state of altered consciousness that includes states ranging from “vegetative” to “minimally conscious state.” He breathes alone, sleeps and wakes up. He is fed by a gastrostomy (feeding tube). His movements and facial expressions are difficult to interpret medically, but there is no doubt that there is a possible interaction with people, however small it may be. For example, he turns his eyes and head towards his mother when she calls him.
There’s a familial fight for Vincent’s life: His parents — unlike his wife and siblings– do not support him being condemned.
On July 1st, his mother gave an emotional testimony:
I would like to speak to you today as a mother, and from the heart of a mother. I am at his (Vincent’s) side with his father, my husband, every single day. In order to visit and take care of our son, we had to leave our home and find a place to live in Reims. We wanted, of course, that he not be left alone, and to stimulate him, be close to him, and give him all the love we can still give, because Vincent is not at the end of his life; Vincent is not a vegetable. I have never seen a vegetable turn its head when you call its name. I have so many photos and videos that completely contradict what is being said in the press.
When I ask Vincent to turn his head, he looks at me; when I ask if he is happy—and I don’t know if this is a reflex or something more— but he does blink his eyes. And what traumatized me the most, I can tell you, is that the day before that on which the doctor had decided to stop his food and some of his hydration, the Sunday on which we visited him, Vincent was very emotional; so I asked him, “What’s going on Vincent?” and he began to cry. And this I can say is a sign for me that Vincent truly has an active conscience …
Why not listen to us? Vincent is a human being; he is not an object; they’re holding his head under water and I… It’s dramatic! That’s it, if I have come here for anything today, it is in the hope that at least his life might be defended here. Because the State, nobody listens to us, nobody wants to hear us, while we have evidence, we are the parents, we know our son, and he is used to us in his daily life and he expresses himself. That’s it, he doesn’t talk but he expresses himself.
Euthanasia is creeping into the planetary consciousness, and tiptoeing its way into the U.S.
As I reported in February, New Jersey has taken a major step toward the legalization of assisted suicide (here); and in December, New Mexico eyed a provision allowing “suicide tourism” for residents outside the state (here).
Where might the cultural change of death as part of the nation’s medical services lead?
Consider the case of Canada, where bioethicists outlined a position of killing children — without parental consent (here). And how about Belgium’s euthanization of an autistic woman (here)? In the Netherlands, the state ended the life of a 17-year-old girl. Her disease? Depression (here).
It seems to me that we, as a society, must always be championing life. Fighting for it. Hailing its virtue. It is, in my view, the greatest virtue of all.
And any move toward something different…is a move toward the dark side.
What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the Comments section.
In the meantime, and by contrast, enjoy this beautiful and inspiring video, in praise of life — shared by Ashton Kutcher in January:
See 3 more pieces from me:
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