David Goodall, Australia's oldest working scientist, is traveling to Switzerland for an assisted suicide almost a month after he celebrated his 104th birthday in April.
The renowned botanist is not suffering from any terminal disease other than poor eyesight and declining mobility. He, however, believes that people in his age should be given the right to choose how they should use the rest of their lives.
Goodall had secured an appointment early this month with the Life Circle association and Dr. Erika Preisig, an assisted suicide expert in Basel, Switzerland.
'No Respect At All'
A few months before his 104th birthday, Goodall fell back-first in one corner of his one-bedroom apartment. He could not stand and tried calling out for help, but nobody heard him. He stayed lying on the floor for the next two days until his hired cleaner finally came and took him to the hospital.
At the hospital, his doctors then advised him against commuting on his own or crossing the street by himself — things that he still does before his fall.
His experience during his fall and his doctors' recommendation made him feel restricted and constrained.
"There's certainly a lack of respect, there's no respect at all," Goodall says.
During his birthday, he was asked if he was happy to have had celebrated the milestone. Goodall said no, reiterated that he was unhappy, and wished to die instead.
The Struggle Of Old Age
People from all over the world knew Goodall in 2016, when a Perth university ordered him to vacate his office where he still worked at the age of 102. The university deemed that he was already posing a safety risk to himself by working despite his old age. He fought the university, gained the support of the public, and was then allowed to continue working at a much safer location at the university.
After the 2016 controversy, however, his physical condition continued to worsen and greatly affected his quality of life.
Goodall used to still play tennis at the age of 90 and perform with an amateur theater group in Perth. He was compelled to stop all these activities due to failing eyesight.
Most recently, he could no longer perform his academic work, as he could no longer read. Furthermore, most of his friends have already passed away.
Dr. Karen Goodall-Smith, Goodall's daughter and a clinical psychologist, said she understands that people like her father find a little dignity with being extremely dependent on others.
In his father's case, opportunities seemed to have gradually stopped because of his physical limitations. His father is now stuck and left with no control over his life and body.
Doctors To Stop Goodall
To support his death wish, pro-euthanasia group Exit International set up a fundraising for Goodall to be able to travel to Switzerland via the business class. This shall provide him the comfort he requires while traveling.
As of press time, the funds obtained have already reached $20,000. The original goal to be raised was $15,000.
Amid this public support that Goodall is receiving, Perth doctors are reportedly planning to stop him from traveling. They perceived him as being a risk to himself and therefore not being fit to travel.