The Debate Won't Die

Vincent Humbert believed he should have died on Sept. 24, 2000, the day he lost control of his car after his tire blew out, and ended up underneath an oncoming truck in the Normandy countryside. "[Death] most probably reached out her arms, seeing me in agony, and said to me, 'Let's go, come, come, it is over ... '" he wrote in his autobiography. Instead, the French fireman, then 19, was wrenched back to life again and again by doctors, machines and good intentions. After nine months in a coma and 15 more as a mute, nearly blind quadriplegic (he wrote...

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