104-year-old Australian scientist David Goodall commits assisted suicide in Switzerland

The British-born professor was forced to travel to Switzerland where liberal assisted dying laws allowed him to end his life legally


                            104-year-old Australian scientist David Goodall commits assisted suicide in Switzerland
David Goodall (Source: Getty Images)

A 104-year-old Australian scientist who travelled to Switzerland to end his life committed assisted suicide on Thursday, a Swiss foundation said.

David Goodall, who had been barred from seeking help to end his life in his home country, did not have a terminal illness but said his quality of life had deteriorated significantly and that he wanted to die.

David Goodall (C), at a press conference, a day before his planned assisted suicide on May 9, 2018 in Basel, Switzerland. (Source: Getty Images)

Goodall "died peacefully" in Basel, tweeted Philip Nitschke, founder of Exit International, the organisation which helped Goodall make the journey from Australia.

The death occured at 1030 GMT from an infusion of Nembutal, a barbiturate, at the Life Cycle clinic, he said.

Goodall said he made the decision to come to Switzerland because he had no other choice, as Australia does not allow assisted suicide. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

The honorary research associate at Perth's Edith Cowan University set off from Australia a week ago, and stopped in Bordeaux, France to see family before arriving in Basel on Monday.

David Goodall tours the Basel University Botanical Gardens with three of his grandchildren and two of their partners the day before his planned assisted suicide on May 9, 2018 in Basel, Switzerland. (Source: Getty Images)

"I no longer want to continue life," Goodall told journalists on Wednesday.

"I am happy to have the chance tomorrow to end it, and I appreciate the help of the medical profession here in making that possible," he said.

David Goodall (R) speaks with Swiss doctor Christian Weber at the hotel where Goodall was staying two days before his planned assisted suicide on May 8, 2018 in Basel, Switzerland. (Source: Getty Images)

The 104-year-old said he hoped the widespread interest in his case would spur Australia and other countries to rethink their legislation.

"I would have preferred to have (ended) it in Australia, and I greatly regret that Australia is behind Switzerland" when it comes to right-to-die laws, he said.

Goodall secured a fast-track appointment with the foundation in Basel after he attempted but failed to commit suicide on his own earlier this year.

"It would have been much more convenient for everyone if I had been able to, but unfortunately it failed," he said of the suicide attempt.

But he said he was happy that he had been offered the "Swiss option", since he has been able to see most of his large family, which is spread over several countries, in the run up to his final day.


Assisted suicide is illegal in most countries and was banned in Australia until the state of Victoria became the first to legalise the practice last year.

David Goodall chats with Taiwanese actress and television hostess Bowie Tsang, who was participating in a documentary film about Goodall, at the Basel University Botanical Gardens the day before his planned assisted suicide on May 9, 2018 in Basel, Switzerland. (Source: Getty Images)

But that legislation, which takes effect in June 2019, only applies to terminally ill patients of sound mind and a life expectancy of less than six months.

According to Swiss law meanwhile, anyone who is of sound mind and who has over a period of time voiced a consistent wish to end their life can request so-called assisted voluntary death, or AVD.

Asked on Wednesday if he had any hesitations or doubts, the 104-year-old said: "No. None whatsoever."

In assisted dying, the person must be physically capable of carrying out the final deed on their own.

In Goodall's case that meant he had himself to open the valve that allowed the short-acting barbiturate to mix with a saline solution and flow into his vein.

'I would have preferred to have (ended) it in Australia, and I greatly regret that Australia is behind Switzerland' when it comes to right-to-die laws, he said. (Source: Getty Images)

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