An agonising family quarrel over the right to death of a road accident victim with irreparable brain damage has been fuelled by the release of video showing him in hospital.
Six days after the European Court of Human Rights said that Vincent Lambert, 38, should be allowed to die, some of his friends and relatives posted a video on YouTube, which seemed to show him responding to their voices with varying facial expressions.
Mr Lambert’s doctors, his wife and other family members who think that he should be allowed to die, accused those behind the video of “manipulation”.
The clip showed Mr Lambert, quadriplegic since the accident in 2008, moving his eyes and changing his expressions in reaction to voices. But experts said the clip was meaningless. “If you had read out the telephone directory, he would have responded the same,” said Dr Bernard Devalois, an authority on end-of-life care.
Mr Lambert’s wife, Rachel, and six of his siblings have campaigned for his right to die and their arguments were accepted last week by the European Court of Human Rights. The Strasbourg court rejected an appeal by Mr Lambert’s devout Catholic parents, who have fought a legal battle against doctors and judges.
Rachel Lambert said she was “appalled” by the video and comments on social media which accuse her of seeking her husband’s “murder”.
“There is no way a two-minute film can make people really understand my husband’s condition,” she said.
In the clip, Lambert’s mother is heard saying on the phone the news from the European court is “not good”. A friend, Emmanuel Guépin, says Mr Lambert “reacts very strongly” to his mother’s voice.Reuse content