Academic David Goodall has confirmed he plans to fly to Europe this week to end his life, but he resents the fact that he has been left with no other choice.
After repeated failed attempts at suicide over the past 12 months, the 104-year-old has made the decision to travel to Switzerland, where voluntary assisted dying is legal.
Dr Goodall will fly to Bordeaux on Wednesday to visit family before making his final journey to the Swiss city of Basel, where an end of life clinic has approved his application to die through voluntary euthanasia.
He will be accompanied by a representative from euthanasia advocacy group Exit International, which has raised almost $20,000 to cover his travel costs.
“I don’t want to go to Switzerland, though it’s a nice country,” Dr Goodall said.
“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.”
Dr Goodall made international headlines in 2016 when, at the age of 102, the university where he served as an honorary research associate ordered he vacate his office because he was a safety risk to himself.
He challenged the decision and, after much public backlash, it was reversed.
Drawn-out goodbye an ‘unsatisfactory’ end
In recent years the renowned academic’s physical condition has continued to deteriorate, along with his quality of life.
He said he appreciated the public’s interest in his plight and hoped it would spark more discussion about the issue of 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.”
Dr Goodall said he had the support of his family, with whom he’d had frank conversations about his decision.
“I’m saying farewell all the time,” he said.
“They realise how unsatisfactory my life here is, unsatisfactory in almost every respect. The sooner it comes to an end the better.”
Dr Goodall has been a member of Exit International for 20 years.
On his 104th birthday last month, he used the occasion to declare he would spend the rest of his days campaigning for voluntary assisted dying to be legalised in Western Australia.
“My feeling is that an old person like myself should have full citizenship rights including the right of assisted suicide,” Dr Goodall said.
“Once one is past the stage of middle life, one has paid back to society the debts that have been paid out.
“One should be free to use the rest of his life as one chooses.
“If one chooses to kill oneself then that’s fair enough. I don’t think anyone else should interfere.”
Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.
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