France: coma patient Vincent Lambert is dead

The coma patient Vincent Lambert, who was left in a vegetative state after a motorcycle accident, has passed away. Following a ruling by the Supreme Court, doctors at the university hospital in Reims stopped providing artificial feeding just over a week ago. The controversy over life support for Lambert kept French courts occupied for years and divided not only his family, but all of France.

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Le Monde (FR) /

Lambert's story has taught us a lot

The doctor Véronique Fournier, president of the National Centre for Palliative Medicine, writes in Le Monde:

“Now the time has come to mourn. That is the most important thing now, to mourn with the requisite restraint and respect. ... And if there is something else that deserves our attention, it is the significance of what his story has taught us about what matters at the end of life. ... The long medical and legal saga that unfolded before his death has contributed significantly to our making progress in legislation and in medical practice. We thank him for this. Hopefully he did not pay for it too dearly. And above all we hope that he will forgive us for the ludicrous publicity to which we collectively condemned him, to his great misfortune.”

Newsweek Polska (PL) /

We will never know what is right

There will probably never be a single right stance on the issue of assisted dying, Newsweek Polska states:

“The difficult question of when and how a person should be allowed to die will continue to be a cause of concern for many countries. It will lead to ethical, legal and also economic resistance (an ever increasing percentage of healthcare budgets goes to patients in their last year of life). And the problem will never be unequivocally resolved. There will thus likewise never be a final answer to the question of how one should act if one finds oneself in the same position as Vincent Lambert’s wife.”

Le Soir (BE) /

France needs a revolution

Le Soir finds the way France treated the case of Vincent Lambert over eleven years incomprehensible:

“One can at the very least ask why there is no hierarchy of next of kin in France, as there is in Belgium, where priority is given first to the spouse and then to the children. And we can ask how this hypocrisy arose which consists in refusing to administer a fatal injection and instead waiting long, interminable days for the deeply sedated body to finally die and running the risk that the person caring for the dying relative is not with their loved one at the final moment. ... France still has a long way to go before this conservative reticence has been overcome. It's simply incomprehensible, because public opinion favours euthanasia. If there is an 'old world' that requires a revolution, then it is this one. ”