A 104-year-old Australian scientist has arrived in Switzerland before his planned assisted suicide this week, unbowed about his intentions and hopeful his premeditated death will send a message to legislators back home.
After petting a feisty dog in a warm welcoming crew at Basel’s airport on Monday, David Goodall composed himself for a handful of reporters after arriving from a visit with relatives in Bordeaux, France.
“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 said.
Lucid and humorous, Goodall reiterated his frustration about not being as free or as mobile in his later life as he once was. While not suffering from a terminal illness, he said he hoped his trip to take his own life in Switzerland – which allows assisted suicide, unlike Australia – would change legislators’ minds one day.
“I think we’ve got quite a way to go. I would like to see the system change, but I doubt it will happen within the next ten years,” he said.
Goodall is expected to meet a doctor on Tuesday who will assess his mindset. He will hold another news conference on Wednesday. On Thursday, he plans to swallow a lethal cocktail of chemicals, ending his life.
After the weekend visit in France, he acknowledged he was “a bit sorry to say goodbye to my family in Bordeaux. But that’s the way it was”.
Switzerland is one of the world’s most permissive countries when it comes to assisted suicide. Representatives of the Swiss “assisted voluntary death” group Life Circle, which is helping Goodall, say only Switzerland and Colombia allow foreigners to travel into the country for an assisted suicide.