David Goodall, a 104-year-old scientist and professor from Perth, Australia, has headed to Switzerland to end his life via assisted suicide.
What are the details?
Goodall is not terminally ill, nor does he appear to be suffering from any physically debilitating issue — he simply no longer wants to live.
Voluntary euthanasia in Australia is legal only in the country’s state of Victoria. To elect euthanasia in Victoria, a candidate must be terminally ill and less than six months from imminent death.
In April — on his 104th birthday — Goodall told Australia’s ABC that he “greatly regrets” living to the ripe old age of 104 and wished that his life would simply end.
“No, I’m not happy,” he said. “I want to die. … It’s not sad particularly, what is sad is if one is prevented [from dying].”
He added, “I would much prefer to be 20 or 30 years younger.”
Now it looks like Goodall is getting his wish.
What’s happening now?
Goodall arrived in France on Monday, nearing his destination, where he expressed to reporters his pleasure at being able to make this choice.
“I am glad to arrive,” Goodall said. “The message I would like to send is: Once one passes the age of 50 or 60, one should be free to decide for oneself, whether one wants to go on living or not.”
He told reporters that he hasn’t enjoyed life for some time now, likening some instances of it to a prison.
Goodall, who is in Switzerland, has plans to end his life on Thursday.
How does this work?
According to a report by USA Today, a friend will go to a Swiss clinic with Goodall, where Goodall will receive a “fatal dose of barbiturates.”
“The lethal cocktail is normally ingested, but since Goodall can’t swallow, the substance will be injected intravenously,” USA Today’s Helena Bachmann writes. “Goodall himself will have to open the valve that releases the liquid to comply with Swiss law that bans the interference of third parties in this process.”
The drug supply will reportedly be filmed, so as to ensure that Goodall has “executed the application himself” and in “full awareness,” according to the clinic’s brochure.
“Falling asleep occurs within a few minutes. Death usually follows within half an hour,” the brochure adds.
According to USA Today, about 200 foreigners visit Switzerland each year for the same purpose as Goodall.
During his final news conference on Wednesday, Goodall could scarcely contain his glee and broke into a song for reporters.
“I am happy to have the chance tomorrow to end [my life], and I appreciate the help of the medical profession here in making that possible,” he said.
When reporters asked Goodall what music he’d prefer to listen to during his final hours, Goodall said Beethoven.
“[I]f I had to choose something, I think it would be the final movement of Beethoven’s ninth symphony,” he said, and began singing a verse of “Ode to Joy” — in German.
Despite his happiness in being able to end his life on his own terms, Goodall expressed regret.
“There are many things I would like to do, but it’s too late,” he said. “I’m content to leave them undone.”