104-year-old academic David Goodall says in his final hours he has ‘no hesitations whatsoever’
Former Edith Cowan University Professor David Goodall turns 104 years old on 4 April. 2 April 2018. (ABC News: Marcus Alborn)
As 104-year-old academic David Goodall prepares to end his life through voluntary euthanasia in Switzerland, he tells a press conference he hopes his story encourages Australians to take more liberal view on assisted dying.
This week, Dr Goodall travelled to Switzerland where an end of life clinic has approved his application to exercise the so-called “Swiss option”.
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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 don’t feel that anyone else’s choice is involved. It’s my own choice to end my life tomorrow and I look forward to that,” Dr Goodall said.
“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.”
Dr Goodall said he had no particular song selected, but said that if he did it would have been Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.
He then broke into a song that was followed by an enthusiastic applause.
On what he would miss the most, Dr Goodall said he would miss journeying into the Australian countryside.
“I would like to go back to … my favourite area, the Kimberley.”
In recent years, Dr Goodall’s physical condition has continued to deteriorate along with his quality of life and, after several attempts to end his own life in the past 12 months, the 104-year-old decided to travel to Switzerland where voluntary assisted dying is legal.
“My abilities have been declining over the past year or two and my eyesight over the past six years and I no longer want to continue life,” he said on Wednesday.
Dr Goodall said he does not think he has any more to contribute, and that the widespread interest in his case has been his contribution.
“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.”
“Everyone over the middle age should have the right to end their lives as and when they choose.”
Dr Goodall says he will die surrounded by “one or two” family members.