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Living alongside these patients with the "broken brain"

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Vincent exchanged a tennis ball with his mother Jeanine, in a park in CÃ © bazat, near Clermont-Ferrand, on July 14th. NABILA EL HADAD / HANS LUCAS FOR "THE MAGAZINE OF THE WORLD"

Today, Vincent Lambert is dead. And Jeanine Zanatta rolls a cigarette. She does not want to share immediately what she feels at the announcement of this new nationwide. She prefers, first, to smoke a nice mixture of sweet and slightly sweet tobacco, then to tell that her son, another Vincent, much more anonymous, had his accident. from the road in the night from 14 to 15 July 2012.

He was a plumber, he had just finished building his house, he was 26 years old. It was seven years ago, almost to the day. That's why today's story is not easy to tell. She remembers that, when she saw him for the first time, after lying on the emergency bed of Clermont-Ferrand University Hospital, the deaths were imperceptible to the child. Outside, his son had a beautiful face, but inside his head everything had become both very empty and very complicated. For the doctor, that day, Vincent's living body had even become a grave, the grave of his brain burned.

In minimal state of consciousness

After several exams, she remembers that another doctor told her without a smile and with a great economy of words: "Your son will stay in a pure vegetative state. AT" She remembers that she felt humiliated and anxious, and that she heard herself say: "But I do not care what you tell me. AT" Jeanine Zanatta kept her word, she never accepted this situation. Vincent took three years to give him his first smile. "One day, we were walking in the garden and my friend wanted to clown, he took a plot of construction, you know the orange and white cones, to make noise in the ears. Vincent jumped and then, afterwards, he burst out laughing. It was four years ago. Since then, he's laughing a lot. And for three months, too, he says a few words. Like â € œyourâ €. He loves them for dessert. And he loves when his grandmother gives him food in the evening. AT"

Just now, Jeanine Zanatta will get in her car, drive to the clinic of the 6 Lakes, Chamalières (Puy-de-DÃ'me), she will go to bed and tuck it. The facility has opened a 12-bed comfort facility for patients with minimal consciousness, called "pauci-relational", or brothel. According to the Leonetti law of 2005, the opinion is left to the patient, or to a person of confidence, to stop or not the medical treatments. There are around 1,700 in France to pursue a different life. Patients whose body is not necessarily injured but whose brain, traumatized, is extremely abated; an altered cerebral activity that makes them look like space-dwelling astronauts, which also makes their fate much more twisted than that of ordinary people.