The Lambert affair worries families with brain injuries


At the other end of the line, Marianne wants to make it clear right off the bat: "I am not of any religious denomination. " Before getting to the heart of the matter and talking about one of his three daughters, "Thais, accidented at age 20, six and a half years ago"she explains.

Since the car accident, the young woman is in a state of minimal consciousness. Elongated or in a wheelchair, she has found, for some months, the ability to communicate, through a screen on which she can, through his eyes, say "yes" or "no". "It has evolved over the years. I had been told the worst, I thought I was going to lose it and I was prepared for it, continues this former nurse. But little by little, his condition stabilized. "

Vincent Lambert enters the field of law Leonetti?

In a few weeks, after a stay in the hospital, the young woman will be living with her mother in Normandy. And when we talk to Marianne Vincent Lambert, this young quadriplegic man whose doctor announced that he would stop treatment in the week of May 20, she said right away: "At home, it causes incomprehension and stupor. "

1,500 people in impaired state of consciousness

Like Thaïs, 1,500 people are, in France, in a state of altered consciousness, qualified, according to their state, of "chronic vegetative state" or "pauci-relational state". For their relatives, like Marianne, the long development of what has become the "Lambert affair", have very often been a source of questions, if not fears.

The National Union of Associations of families of traumatized brain (Unaftc), which defends the interests and rights of the brain-injured, has also intervened in the trial, alongside the parents of Vincent Lambert, at all stages of the proceedings since early 2014. "I happened to be very shocked by the media treatment, especially by a radio show where was invited the mother of Vincent Lambert. I took a little distance, mainly to protect myself, explains Marianne.

Vincent Lambert, a "singularly complex" subject

Forcibly, she can not help but draw parallels between the young man and his own daughter. It also castigates the image conveyed in society on this type of disability. "In television series, it's striking, says she. It seems that people are waking up from coma and are immediately in great shape, as if nothing had happened, or you have to unplug them. Nobody wants to see that there is an in-between. "

The former nurse insists especially on the importance, in her eyes, to take into account the reality of what live people in pauci-relational state. "The goal we should all have is not to know if a life should be lived, but to try to understand what they are going through," Marianne breathes.

The will of everyone

His words are similar to those used by Philippe, the father of a young man who also suffered a traffic accident 16 years ago, when his bike was hit by a car.

"I admit that when I realized, at the end of 2013, that it was a question of putting an end to the hydration and nutrition of a young man in a chronic vegetative state, I fell out of the closet! , he recalls. I realized that tomorrow I could be attacked by a doctor who would say to me, "What you do with your son is unreasonable obstinacy". Today, he eats by mouth, but it is quite possible that tomorrow, if it is weakened, it is also fed through a probe, like Vincent Lambert. Like him, he does not have a reliable and reproducible communication code. He expresses his emotions but does not speak. "

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He refuses to summarize this case to "A conflict between a loving wife and fundamentalist Catholic ideological parents". Because Philippe, who is a doctor, fears first and foremost "The power of the doctor and the confiscation of the decision" in this type of procedure. "The idea that one day one can decide for me, and especially on his own, is intolerable. "

For this father, who lives with his disabled son, what matters most is the question of the will of everyone. "I am not an activist of life at any cost, said Philippe. I'm not saying that you should never stop. I am simply saying that you have to sit around a table and try to find out what the will of the person concerned is, based on what you know. It can only be a collective process, where we listen to everyone and in which the doctor must not be able to have the last word! "

"What matters is not what I would have liked it to be, it's the life he leads today, sums up Philippe, mentioning his son, now 30 years old. This is the way I make him not unhappy with the life he leads today. But if I constantly project on him my wishes before, it is unbearable for everyone. "

Discontinuation of treatment and therapeutic limitations

In the services that welcome patients who are vegetative and in a pauci-relational state, the Lambert affair has also caused trouble. "People do not talk about it every day, but everyone follows the situation carefully. In 2015-2016, when the affair occupied a lot of the media, I remember that some families came to see me, says a doctor present in one of the 150 open units in France. "One day, a patient's sister burst into my office, annoyed and moved. She told me, "Promise me that you will never make my sister die of hunger and thirst."

These discussions were sometimes an opportunity to make the difference, with the relatives of his patients, between the treatment stop implemented in the Lambert case and the so-called "therapeutic limitations", it is that is, the agreement that if there is a serious complication, the doctors will not resuscitate the patient.

The value of life

This doctor, who is anxious to remain anonymous, "Delicate" and also "For fear of attacks by extremists of all stripes", evokes a discussion at the end of 2018, just after the mediatization of the results of the medical expertise practiced on Vincent Lambert: "The mother of a patient in vegetative state comes to me and says:" I wonder if it would be better to sedate my daughter, so it stops. "I told him he We had to talk about it with the other caregivers, that there was no problem to talk about it, but that she also had to deal with it with her family. Then, a week later, she came back to my office and said, "Doctor, you forget everything I told you. My other two daughters do not agree. You forget everything. "

But this doctor is also worried about the next few months. "It's obvious that if treatment is stopped, it will influence things. For society, it is still a way of saying that the law makes it possible to kill or to let die a person who is a handicapped person. "


"The Case" Vincent Lambert

• Victim of a road accident, Vincent Lambert was hospitalized in 2008 at the University Hospital of Reims. Since then, his condition is called "pauci-relational" and then "chronic vegetative". In April 2013, the doctor plans a treatment discontinuation protocol, in agreement with Vincent Lambert's wife. His parents seize the justice to oppose it and get their recovery.

• In January 2014, the CHU again decided to stop artificial nutrition and hydration. This decision is validated in June by the Council of State and then one year later by the European Court of Human Rights.

• In April 2018, Dr. Sanchez again decides to stop treatment. A decision validated by the Council of State in April 2019. The parents of Vincent Lambert appeal to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which depends on the UN, but France announces that it will not wait for the decision of this body.

• On May 9th, Dr. Sanchez announces that he intends to implement a deep and continuous sedation of Vincent Lambert " in the week of May 20th ".

(tagsToTranslate) case Vincent Lambert (t) health (t) Leonetti (t) bioethics (t) End of life (t) Ethics (t) brainworm (t) worries (t) families (t) Lambert


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