Two new judiciary initiatives were taken these past few days concerning the future of Vincent Lambert: on the one hand the Procurer of Reims engaged a guardianship judge to appoint a tutor; and on the other hand Vincent’s parents have also gone to court to have their son transferred to another establishment better suited to his needs.
The first initiative was logically expected, since last July 23, when the Reims university hospital (CHU), contrary to all expectations, decided to alert the Attorney of Reims to “demand global protection measures and choose a person who could legally represent” the patient. Given the extreme tensions within the family, it is likely that the guardianship judge, an independent sitting judge, will in the next weeks name an administrator outside the family circle. The scope of his mission will likewise be defined, notably his ability or not, to demand the transfer of Vincent Lambert to another establishment.
This last question is at the heart of the second initiative directed by Vincent’s parents, who consider that there is “a serious failure in the care that should be given to Vincent” – in particular the absence of physiotherapy sessions since the end of 2012. They have repeatedly requested the hospital in Reims to transfer their son “into one of the six establishments that offered to take him in”, which has been refused up till now. Indeed, a patient can legally be transferred to another establishment, but on the condition that he expresses himself his agreement to the transfer, which of course Vincent, in his current state, is not capable of doing. The nomination of a tutor could resolve the situation. However it isn’t sure whether this tutor could or would want to do this. Vincent’s parents therefore want to force the hospital to make the transfer rapidly to a more suitable place for brain-damaged patients.