Case of Vincent Humbert

Vincent Humbert () Is a young man who has become a quadriplegic , blind and mute , after a serious accident in the road . His case raised many comments about his desire to die, euthanasia being banned in France .

After a serious road accident, the , Vincent Humbert, who no longer supported this life without hope of healing, undertook numerous steps to obtain the right to be euthanized. He wrote to the then President of the Republic , Jacques Chirac , to whom he asked in vain for a “right to die.” The, The young man’s mother caused the death of his son with the help of a doctor. The judgment ended with a dismissal in February 2006 .


  •  : Vincent Humbert, a young firefighter of 19 years, is the victim of a serious accident of the road. His Clio, probably after his tire broke, hit a pickup truck at the end of a bend. He was hospitalized at the CHU in Rouen and then at the Hélio-Marin hospital in Berck , where he woke up after six months of coma, blind (his eyelids had even to be sewn to avoid the drying of his eyes), silent and quadriplegic , but he kept All its lucidity 1 .
  •  : Thanks to his communication channels (hearing and thumb right), Vincent with the help of his moderator Chantal writes his request for “right to die” to the President of the Republic , in order to shorten his sufferings and those he Perceives in his mother. Jacques Chirac says he can not accede to his request because he did not have the right 2 .
  •  His mother, Marie Humbert, announced on the show seven or eight TF1 its intention to help 1 .
  •  : Marie Humbert goes into action at 5:30 pm, giving her large doses of sodium pentobarbital . A nurse enters and then raises the alert. Vincent Humbert went into a coma deep is then admitted to the ICU of D r Frédéric Chaussoy. Marie Humbert is the next day arrested and placed in custody 3 .
  •  : The book of Vincent Humbert written by Frédéric Veille I ask you the right to die is published. Marie Humbert is released from custody.
  •  : After discussion and agreement with the family, the D r Chaussoy decides to adopt any measure of resuscitation and inject potassium chloride , resulting in the death of his patient.
  •  : The public prosecutor in Boulogne-sur-Mer opens a judicial investigation against Marie Humbert for the “administration of toxic substances committed with premeditation and against a vulnerable person” (she incurs five years in prison) and Dr. Chaussoy for “poisoning with premeditation” Is liable to imprisonment for life) 4 .
  • Autumn 2003 : Jean Leonetti , doctor and deputy of Alpes-Maritimes , is entrusted by President Jacques Chirac and the Raffarin government with a “parliamentary mission on end-of-life support”.
  •  : Marie Humbert fights with the association Faut nous s’actives ! To obtain the decriminalization of the exception of suicide medically assisted in France . She thus launched a petition: the “Vincent Humbert Law”. It has collected nearly 300,000 signatures of citizens.
  •  : The bill on the rights of the sick and the end of life is tabled in the National Assembly 5 .
  • 13 and : The D r Chaussoy and Marie Humbert is indicted, the first for “poisoning with intent” and the second for “administration of toxic substances.” The two accused have always assumed their acts and have provoked an ethical and legislative debate on the theme of euthanasia , leading to the adoption of a “right to die” by the French parliament in.
  •  : The Law on patients’ rights and end of life n o 2005-370 is adopted by the Assembly. Without introducing either euthanasia or assisted suicide, it prohibits therapeutic reluctance , promotes palliative care, and provides a framework for the patient to seek treatment discontinuation.
  •  : Judge Anne Morvant instruction sends a dismissal order for the case of D r Chaussoy and Marie Humbert 1 .



A TV movie, Marie Humbert, a mother’s love , dating from 2007 and airedOn TF1 , was directed by Marc Angelo , with Edouard Collin in the role of Vincent Humbert and Florence Pernel in the role of the mother of the family.

TV Documentaries

  • “Death of Vincent Humbert, what really happened? “In Secrets d’actualité on December 14, 2003 on M6 and then on June 10, 2009 in Criminal Investigations: the news magazine about W9 .
  • “Vincent Humbert: The Mother’s Fight” (first report) on January 20 and 31, 2010 in 90 ‘ Miscellaneous on TMC .

Notes and references

  1. a , b and c Corine Pelluchon, The broken life: bioethics and philosophy , Presses Universitaires de France,, P.  72
  2. ↑ Gilles Antonowicz , Euthanasia, the judicial alternative , Éditions L’Harmattan,, P.  20
  3. ↑ Corine Pelluchon, The broken life: bioethics and philosophy , Presses Universitaires de France,, P.  73
  4. ↑ Axel Kahn , the ultimate freedom? , Plon,, P.  2008
  5. Proposed law relating to patients’ rights and end of life n o 1882 of 26 October 2004 on the official website of the National Assembly.  [ Archive ]