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CHÂLONS-EN-CHAMPAGNE, France (ChurchMilitant.com) - A French administrative court is granting a reprieve for an unconscious man with paralysis, despite a decision by his doctor to remove hydration and nutrition.
News broke Friday that the Administrative Court of Châlons-en-Champagne blocked an order from Dr. Vincent Sanchez, Vincent Lambert's physician, to euthanize him within 10 days following a ruling on April 9. Judge Olivier Nizet also ordered a future expert assessment of the patient by three specialists named by an administrative tribunal.
Lambert was injured in a 2008 car crash which left him severely brain damaged in a coma as a quadriplegic, and he is receiving basic hydration and nutrition at the Sebastopol Hospital in Reims, France.
Lawyers for Lambert's Catholic parents filed an application for their son's transfer to a specialized institution, along with 70 doctors and medical professionals who made an appeal for the sick man in the French daily newspaper Le Figaro on Wednesday, calling Sanchez's decision "dramatic and unfathomable punishment." A judiciary decision is expected following the future assessment and a report to the tribunal.
Lambert's case has parallels to the situation involving Terri Schiavo in the United States who was euthanized in 2005. Schiavo's case, which made national news, was left brain-injured and comatose after suffering cardiac arrest in 1990. Her husband pushed for the removal of her feeding tube while her Catholic parents campaigned to keep her alive.
After the court ordered the removal of her feeding tube, Schiavo died of dehydration and starvation after 13 days.
Currently, the French Parliament is debating over whether to change its bioethics laws regarding euthanasia. It is illegal in the country, except in cases of "passive euthanasia," where treatment to preserve life is either withheld or withdrawn.
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