PARIS (AP) — Europe's top human rights court has allowed doctors to stop treatment of a French man left comatose after a car accident seven years ago, a case that has drawn nationwide attention amid debate about end-of-life practices.
The European Court of Human Rights on Friday confirmed a decision by a French court last year that Vincent Lambert had been clear he did not want to be kept in a vegetative state.
The court's ruling said withdrawing artificial nutrition and hydration would not violate the European Convention on Human Rights.
Lambert's family members disagree on whether to keep him alive artificially. His wife wants doctors to stop life support for him but his parents disagree.
"There's no relief, no joy to express. We'd just like his will to be done", Lambert's wife, Rachel, told journalists following the ruling of the Strasbourg-based court.
The lawyer for Lambert's parents, Jean Paillot, expressed "great disappointment" and called on doctors to reassess Lambert's condition and "make a new medical decision" — stressing that the initial decision had been taken in January 2014.
Euthanasia is not legal in France but end-of-life legislation allows doctor to stop treatments in certain cases, following a complex process that includes consultation with the family.
All recent polls have shown that a large majority of French people favor legalizing euthanasia.
Euthanasia is currently legal in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.