Human Rights

TRAGEDY: Vincent Lambert dies after being starved to death in France

dehydration, France, French man Vincent Lambert

French nurse Vincent Lambert has died, nine days after being denied nutrition and hydration in a hospital.

Days before his nutrition and hydration was removed, Lambert’s mother, Viviane, spoke before the International Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in an effort to stop what she called the “assassination” of her son. “Why won’t you listen to us? Vincent is a human being, not an object,” she said, adding, “Vincent is not a vegetable. I’ve never seen a vegetable turn its head when it’s called. I have many pictures and videos that prove exactly the contrary of what can be read on the papers.”

After losing every court battle to save their son’s life, the Lamberts eventually resigned themselves to his death, noting that it was too late. Their lawyer, Jean Paillot, said after he died that his parents feel that it is “now time for a moment of remembrance,” and will release a statement when they feel able.

The Vatican released a statement after Lambert died expressing sadness, saying, “We pray that the Lord will welcome him into his house and we express closeness to his loved ones and to those who, up to the last, have committed themselves to assist him with love and dedication.”

But not everyone seemed to feel that Lambert’s state-enforced death was a tragedy. The news of his death came from his cousin, Francois Lambert, who said in a statement to AFP, “Vincent died at 8:24 am (0624 GMT) this morning. We were ready to let him go. It is not sad. It is rationality gaining the upper hand.” He then appeared to take a swipe at Vincent’s parents, calling their efforts to save their son’s life “theatrical gestures.”

“This was a human being who was suffering,” his cousin said, “and the various theatrical gestures did not mean much.”

When Lambert was told that he was going to be killed, he reportedly cried, as this video shows.


Lambert was at the center of a legal battle for six years, as his wife, Rachel, and some of his family members fought his parents for the ability to have him killed. After a 2008 car accident, Lambert was left quadriplegic and in a “semi-conscious” state. Though some had described him as a “vegetable,” Lambert’s parents have argued otherwise. Lambert was able to breathe and swallow on his own, sleep and wake up, and did not require machines to keep him alive. He relied, as all people do, on nutrition and hydration, albeit delivered in a special manner, and was otherwise not ill or at the end of his life.

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