David Goodall hours before assisted suicide in Switzerland: I’m happy to die

By @chelean on
David Goodall, 104, reacts during a news conference a day before he intends to take his own life in assisted suicide, in Basel, Switzerland May 9, 2018.
David Goodall, 104, reacts during a news conference a day before he intends to take his own life in assisted suicide, in Basel, Switzerland May 9, 2018. Reuters/Stefan Wermuth

David Goodall is set to end his life at an assisted dying clinic in Switzerland. The 104-year-old Australian scientist, in his final press conference in Basel on Wednesday, said he hoped that Australia would finally allow assisted suicide.

“Australia is behind Switzerland in this move, as are most countries,” the renowned botanist told reporters regarding assisted suicide. “At my age, or less than my age, one wants to be free to choose the death when the death is at an appropriate time.”

Goodall left his home in Western Australia to travel to France last week to see relatives. He later arrived in Switzerland, where a clinic has accepted his application for assisted dying. Two Swiss doctors, including a psychiatrist, said on Wednesday that he was of sound mind and cleared to proceed with the procedure.

“My abilities have been in decline over the past year or two, my eyesight over the past six years. I no longer want to continue life. I’m happy to have the chance tomorrow to end it,” he said.

Goodall, who does not believe in life after death, admitted he had tried to take his own life at least three times in the past. He finally decided to get professional help in the European country, which is the only country that offers assisted suicide to foreign nationals.

He said last week that he would prefer to die in Australia, but his home country does not allow assisted dying. He hoped his story will inspire Australia and other countries to be more accepting of voluntary euthanasia.

Victoria became the first state in Australia to have passed a euthanasia bill in November. However, the bill, which will become law in June 2019, will only allow terminal patients assisted dying. Even if he waited until next year, Goodall wouldn’t have been qualified to request a lethal drug to end his life as he does not have terminal illness.

His final journey will be at 10 a.m. local time on Thursday.