Australian scientist, 104, says final goodbye to friends and family

The heartbreaking moment Australian scientist, 104, says a final goodbye to his grandson before heading to a Swiss suicide clinic

  • Renowned academic David Goodall is travelling to Switzerland to end his life
  • Dr Goodall was born in London on April 4, 1914, but moved to Australia in 1948
  • The botanist and ecologist has said that he ‘greatly regrets’ living for so long 
  • Seeking voluntary euthanasia on grounds that his quality of life has deteriorated 
  • He got on plane in Perth late Wednesday surrounded by friends and family

Australia’s oldest scientist, wearing a top labelled ‘ageing disgracefully’, has left the country for Switzerland to end his life at the age of 104, saying he is resentful that he must go overseas to die.

David Goodall does not have a terminal illness but on the grounds that his quality of life has deteriorated he secured a fast-track appointment with assisted dying agency Life Circle in Basel, Switzerland.

He got on a plane in Perth late Wednesday surrounded by friends and family saying their final goodbyes, including a heartfelt farewell from his grandson, euthanasia advocates told AFP. 

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He got on a plane in Perth late Wednesday surrounded by friends and family saying their final goodbyes (grandson pictured) 

Dr Goodall celebrated his 104th birthday in early April and has since decided it is time to access voluntarily euthanasia in Switzerland 

‘I should be glad when I get on the plane – so far, so good,’ he told 9 News. 

‘I have some of my family here – there are three grandsons here, I believe and my daughter Karen… It’s very good that they shall be here to see me off’.     

He will spend several days with other family in Bordeaux, France, before heading to Switzerland where he is due to end his life on May 10.

‘I don’t want to go to Switzerland, though it’s a nice country,’ he told broadcaster ABC before leaving.

‘But I have to do that in order to get the opportunity of suicide which the Australian system does not permit. I feel very resentful.’

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

The Northern Territory briefly legalised euthanasia for the terminally ill in 1996 but it was overturned a year later due to Federal Government  

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

Other states in Australia have debated euthanasia in the past, but the proposals have always been defeated, most recently in New South Wales state last year.

Renowned academic David Goodall is travelling to Switzerland to end his life

Australia’s oldest working scientist David Goodall talking to media as he departs Perth Airport for Switzerland

The botanist and ecologist has said that he ‘greatly regrets’ living for so long

Exit International, which helped Goodall make the trip, said it was unjust that one of Australia’s ‘oldest and most prominent citizens should be forced to travel to the other side of the world to die with dignity’.

It launched a GoFundMe campaign to get plane tickets for Goodall and his helper upgraded to business class from economy and quickly raised more than Aus$20,000 (US$15,000).

Goodall, an honorary research associate at Perth’s Edith Cowan University, made international headlines in 2016 when he was declared unfit to be on campus.

After an uproar and support from scientists globally, the decision was reversed.

Dr Goodall was born in London on April 4, 1914, but moved to Australia in 1948

He came to Australia to in 1948 taking up a lecturing position at the University of Melbourne 

Goodall (left), an honorary research associate at Perth’s Edith Cowan University, made international headlines in 2016 when he was declared unfit to be on campus

He has produced dozens of research papers and until recently continued to review and edit for different ecology journals.

Goodall told ABC he appreciated the public’s interest in his plight and hoped it would spark more discussion about voluntary euthanasia.

‘I would like them to understand it,’ he said.

‘I am 104 years old so I haven’t got much time left anyway. I might as well not have (my health) getting worse and worse, making me unhappy as it goes.’

Who is Australia’s oldest scientist David Goodall?

Dr Goodall was born in London in 1914, and is an eminent botanist and ecologist.

He came to Australia to in 1948, taking up a lecturing position at the University of Melbourne.

Goodall, an honorary research associate at Perth’s Edith Cowan University, made international headlines in 2016 when he was declared unfit to be on campus.

Dr Goodall celebrated his 104th birthday in early April and has since decided it is time to access voluntarily euthanasia in Switzerland. 

Dr Goodall (pictured middle) does not have a terminal illness but greatly regrets having lived to 104 

Dr Goodall is expected to leave Perth in early May with long-time friend Carol O’Neil (left)  

 

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