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David Goodall said that he wants to end his life with dignity
The famous scientist David Goodall died at the age of 104 in Switzerland, where he flew specially from Australia to complete his life. This was confirmed by the organization that helped him to commit euthanasia.
Born in London in 1914, Goodall was a recognized botanist and ecologist. In early May, he said goodbye to his house in Australia and traveled to the other end of the world to voluntarily settle his life with a clinic that helps such patients. His intention riveted to a wide interest in the world.
Despite Goodall, despite his age, there were no serious or incurable ailments. Nevertheless, he decided to accelerate his death, explaining this steadily deteriorating quality of life. According to him, he was disappointed that he increasingly had to depend on others.
For many years, Goodall was an active advocate of the right to voluntary euthanasia. He more than 20 years was in the organization of Exit International, which is fighting for the legalization of the right to care for life with medical help.
"I do not want to go on living anymore", – the scientist said on Wednesday during his last appearance before the press.
"A person at my age – and even earlier than at my age – wants to have the freedom to choose death when death comes at an opportune time", said the scientist.
A month ago, on his birthday in an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Company David Goodall confessed "I am very sorry that I have lived to such an advanced age"
"I am not happy. I want to die. It’s not so sad, but you are not allowed to do this", – he added.
As Philip Nitschke, the founder of Exit International, said, death occurred at 12:30 local time at the Life Cycle clinic in the Swiss city of Basel as a result of a large dose of sleeping pills, "Ode to Joy" from Symphony No. 9 of Beethoven.
Goodall arrived in Basel on Monday from France, where he visited his relatives. The last day of his life he spent examining the botanical gardens of the University of Basel, accompanied by his three grandchildren.
Before his death, Goodall ordered a traditional English dish "fish-and-chips" (fish in batter with fried potatoes) and cheesecake, to which he had weakness throughout his life.
Goodall did not want any funeral for himself, and bequeathed that his body was transferred for medical research or scattered the dust somewhere nearby, told Nietzsche.
Suicide with medical assistance is allowed only in one of the Australian states – and only if the person is diagnosed with an incurable disease in the last stage.
At the same time in Switzerland, suicide with medical assistance has been legally permitted since 1942.
In recent decades, laws permitting a person to voluntarily cease to exist have been adopted in many countries and jurisdictions, but in most cases a mandatory condition for this is the presence of a fatal disease.
The Australian Medical Association is categorically opposed to assisted suicide, calling it unethical for medicine, whose goal is to help save life, and not to deprive it.
Born in London, the scientist lived almost to the last moment alone in his small apartment in the Australian city of Perth.
He finished his teaching career in 1979, but continued intensive scientific work.
Last time Goodall was editing a 30-volume scientific series "Ecosystems of the world". For his scientific achievements, he was awarded the Order of Australia.
In 2016, at the age of 102, he obtained the right to continue working at the University of Edith Cowen as an honorary research fellow.
On a trip to Switzerland, the scientist was accompanied by Carol O’Neill from the organization Exit International, which provides assistance to those who decided to take their own lives
According to O’Neill, the proceedings about the possibility of working in the university in 2016 had a negative impact on the state of the scientist. The university administration tried to deny him, expressing concern that a rather elderly person would have to make regular long trips to and from work.
Although Goodall eventually managed to defend his right to be hired, he was ordered to conduct scientific activities closer to home. At about the same time, he had to give up his driving license, O’Neil said.
"This was the beginning of the end. He could no longer see friends and colleagues in the old office. The inherent cheerfulness came to naught, and he began to pack all his books. This was the beginning of a period when he ceased to feel happy", – she added.
The decision of Goodall to die was also affected by his fall in April in his own apartment. The alarm was scored only two days later. After that, the doctors said that he needed 24-hour care, and offered to move to a nursing home.
"Doctors are not taught to kill people. This is inherent in our ethics, everything tells us that it is wrong", – said the head of the Australian Medical Association Michael Gannon during last year’s debate on the possibility of allowing assisted suicide.
"But not all doctors agree with this", – he added.
A survey of members showed that the introduction "deathright" support 40% of those who participated in the survey.
In Switzerland, Goodall spent the last days surrounded by his relatives
Activists collected on the Internet 20 thousand Australian dollars (15 thousand US dollars), so that the scientist could go on his last trip to Europe business class.
The scientist told before his death that his relatives supported his decision to die.
"My family understands how unsatisfactory my life is here, and almost in all aspects. The sooner it ends, the better", – said Goodall in an interview with ABC.
Carol O’Neil said that in recent days the scientist had been busy sending out his letters of forgiveness and communicated with relatives, including many grandchildren.
The Goodall story attracted special attention, since in the state of Western Australia, the possibility of legalizing assisted suicide is now being considered.
The state authorities said they sympathize with Goodall, but noted that if the law on suicide with medical assistance is adopted, it will only apply to terminally ill patients.