Bishop Thierry Scherrer of Laval, France, and the Bioethics Committee of his diocese are pleading with doctors at a hospital in Reims not to end the life of a young quadriplegic man. “Human life is a gift from God, and doctors are at its service. The omnipotence that technology gives us has to respect this limit,” Bishop Scherrer and the Bioethics Committee affirmed in their July 16 statement. They urged the medics to respect the life of Vincent Lambert, who became quadriplegic as the result of an accident in 2008. Euthanasia is not legal in France. However, in 2013, Lambert’s wife and six of his eight siblings asked the courts to disconnect his hydration and nutrition. In response, his parents, who are practicing Catholics, initiated a legal fight to protect their son’s life. The case went all the way to the European Court of Human Rights, which approved the removal of life support. “Life is a precious gift and the attitude that society adopts towards life is everyone’s concern,” said the bishop and bioethics committee, asking that Lambert not become a “the hostage of a cause or an ideology” that disrespects life. They also warned that if the European court’s ruling is carried out, many other patients in the same situation as Lambert could be at risk of becoming victims of euthanasia. The statement from the Diocese of Laval supports the complaint filed on June 24 by Lambert’s mother, Viviane. In a statement to CNA, Viviane warned that “the French government was using Vincent’s case to legalize euthanasia.” A medical team at the hospital is still evaluating Lambert’s case. Doctor Danielle Simon, head of the medical team, made an appointment on July 15 to discuss the case with family members separately. According to local news reports, Lambert’s parents have filed a lawsuit against the European Court of Human Rights and several of the doctors in the case. They are also reportedly considering a lawsuit against Lambert’s wife for “false testimony, forgery, and contrived lies.” A final decision from the doctors is expected July 23.
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