Family battle over euthanasia for quadriplegic in French court

13th February 2014, Comments 0 comments

France's highest civil court on Thursday began hearing the case of a battle between family members over ending the life of a 38-year-old quadriplegic in a vegetative state.

The State Council's 17 judges started considering the case of Vincent Lambert on Thursday and said it would decide Friday whether it will make a ruling or seek further medical evidence.

Doctors treating Lambert, as well as his wife, want to cut off intravenous food and water supplies but his deeply religious Catholic parents and other family members oppose the decision and took the matter to court.

A court in Chalons-en-Champagne near Reims ruled against ending his life last month and the case was brought to the State Council on appeal.

A 2005 law in France legalised passive euthanasia, where a person causes death by withholding or withdrawing treatment that is necessary to maintain life.

Lambert has been in a vegetative state since a car crash in 2008.

The reporting judge who presented the case to the council on Thursday recommended further medical tests by three new doctors on Lambert, to be performed within six weeks.

The judge, Remi Keller, said the extra tests were needed as the case has the potential to have a "nationwide impact".

The French case comes amid often heated public debates in Europe over euthanasia, including in Belgium where lawmakers are set to vote Thursday to extend the right to die to terminally ill children.

© 2014 AFP

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