Nine Days After Doctors Withdraw Food and Water, Vincent Lambert Dies

Vincent Lambert, a 42-year-old Frenchman at the center of a life-support battle, died on July 11 in Reims, France. His death comes nine days after doctors removed his access to food and water, a decision that was contested by his parents in a years-long legal battle.

Lambert, a former nurse, was involved in a car crash in 2008 that left him a quadriplegic with severe brain damage. His wife argued that Lambert would not have wanted to live in a “vegetative state” and argued that he should have the right to die. Lambert’s parents, who are reportedly devout Catholics, objected to this and brought the case all the way to the European Court of Human Rights.

However, last month a French court ruled to follow the wishes of Lambert’s wife and some of his siblings and begin “passive” euthanasia, which is legal in France. Doctors informed the family on July 2 that they would be removing Lambert’s food and water.

The Vatican issued a statement on Thursday, expressing sorrow for Lambert’s death. Alessandro Gisotti, interim director of the Holy See press office, said, “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.”

Thursday on The Patrick Madrid Show, Patrick broke the news of Lambert’s death, and explained why he thought the case of Vincent Lambert is not only about his tragic death, but about the direction society is moving when it comes to the value of human life.

“Now, you may say that’s a tragedy. Yes, but it’s also a canary in a coal mine,” Patrick said. “You know what that phrase means? Back in the day (and maybe they still do it for all I know) they would take a little canary in a cage down into the coal mines. And when the canary would keel over and die they get out of there in a hurry, because the canary was very sensitive to poisonous gases that might be undetectable by human being. Because they don’t have the same olfactory capabilities, they can’t smell and recognize these things.”

“So they would have the canary in the coal mine with them as their early warning system. This story is kind of like that, because this should tell you something about how governments more and more now will treat you or someone you love if you become too inconvenient.”

In May, Lambert’s mother said, “Vincent is doing well. He’s not at the end of his life. He only needs something to drink and to eat and some love.”

Patrick pointed out that while it is not necessary to go to extreme means or employ extraordinary measures to keep people alive, all people need food and water to survive. To not provide that is to condemn a person to an excruciating death.

“Food and water is not an extraordinary means of keeping people alive,” he said. “We’re not talking about extreme measures. Just somebody who is in a bed and can stay alive. Just feed him and give him water, just like you yourself want food and water. We all do. We all need that. This is a horror, but it’s also a canary in a coal mine because it is indicative of the way things are trending.”

Listen to the full conversation below:

The Patrick Madrid Show airs weekdays from 9:00 – noon Eastern/6:00 – 9:00 a.m. Pacific on Relevant Radio® and the Relevant Radio App.

Stephanie Foley serves as a Digital Media Producer at Relevant Radio®. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she studied journalism, and she has worked in Catholic radio for 12 years. Stephanie is a wife, a mother of three boys, and in her free time she enjoys reading, running, and really good coffee. You can find more of Stephanie’s writing at and on the free Relevant Radio mobile app.