The 104-year-old man who plans to take his life in an assisted suicide has arrived in Switzerland. David Goodall will spend his last day at a botanical garden with his grandchildren and he is set to die at a Switzerland assisted suicide clinic tomorrow.
Goodall has not decided on what he will eat for his final meal, but has requested that Beethoven’s 9th Symphony be played as he has given the lethal drugs that will kill him. He is set to swallow the lethal cocktail of chemicals at the Swiss clinic on Thursday.
Assisted suicide was supposed to be meant for people who have lethal medical conditions or are in significant pain but Goodall’s case is another example of how healthy people are killing themselves. Assisted suicide has also led to euthanasia — where legalized and elderly, disabled people, and mentally ill people are being euthanized against their will.
Goodall, a world-renowned botanist, will die at 10am on Thursday in a clinic at an undisclosed location. He and his family are using his highly publicized cases to push assisted suicide worldiwde.
Speaking at a press conference in the Swiss city of Basel on Wednesday, Dr Goodall was surprised by the crowd of international media packed into the room.
“I’m rather surprised at the wide interest in my case. I am very appreciative of the hospitality of the Swiss Federation and the [ability] to come to an end gracefully,” he said.
“I am glad to have the chance but would have preferred to have had it in Australia.”
His death is scheduled to happen on Thursday, possibly around midday (local time), but Dr Goodall says he doesn’t mind at what time.
When asked if he has any hesitation about ending his life, he replied: “No, none whatsoever”.
“I’m glad to have the chance tomorrow to end it and I appreciate the help of the medical profession here in making that possible.
“At my age, or less than my age, one wants to be free to choose the death when the death is an appropriate time.”
“I certainly hope my story will increase the pressure for people to have more liberal view on the subject [of voluntary euthanasia]. I think there probably will be a step in the right direction.”
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Goodall, a distinguished ecologist who retired in 1979, is frail but not terminally ill. Hence, he is not eligible to move to the Australian state of Victoria to die there under its new euthanasia legislation.
A long-time member of Philip Nitschke’s Exit International organisation, Dr Goodall was able to find support for his request for assisted suicide overseas. A GoFundMe campaign organised by Dr Nitschke raised enough money to finance a business class flight to Basel. He will die there with the help of Dr Erica Preisig, the head of lifecircle, a splinter group from the better-known organisation Dignitas.
“I greatly regret having reached that age,” he said upon reaching his 104th birthday. “I’m not happy. I want to die. It’s not sad particularly. What is sad is if one is prevented. My feeling is that an old person like myself should have full citizenship rights including the right of assisted suicide.”
Although Dr Goodall is healthy enough, considering his age, he did not seem well supported in day-to-day life. Although the extensive media coverage about his decision focused on airport hugs from his grandsons, none of his family accompanied him on his trip to Switzerland. Instead, his travelling companion was the West Australian coordinator of Exit.
The turning point for him seemed to be a fall in his one-bedroom flat. Although he did not break any bones, he was unable to get up from the floor and remained there for two days.