Oz scientist, 104, commits assisted suicide

Geneva: A 104-year-old Australian scientist who travelled to Switzerland to end his life committed assisted suicide on Thursday, a Swiss foundation said. David Goodall, who had been barred from seeking help to end his life in his home country, did not have a terminal illness but said his quality of life had deteriorated significantly and that he wanted to die.

Organisation ‘Exit International’ helped Goodall make the journey from Australia. The honorary research associate at Perth’s Edith Cowan University set off from Australia a week ago, and stopped in Bordeaux, France to see family before arriving in Basel on Monday. The 104-year-old said he hoped the widespread interest in his case would spur Australia and other nations to rethink their legislation, he had said on Wednesday.

Goodall secured a fast-track appointment with the foundation in Basel after he attempted but failed to commit suicide on his own earlier this year. “It would have been much more convenient for everyone if I had been able to, but unfortunately it failed,” he said of the suicide attempt. He was happy that he was offered the Swiss option, since he was able to see his large family in his “final day”.

Assisted suicide illegal in countries, banned in Australia


Assisted suicide is illegal in most countries and was banned in Australia until the state of Victoria became the first to legalise the practice in 2017. But that legislation, which takes effect in June 2019, only applies to ill patients of a life expectancy of less than six months, reports showed. -Agencies


I no longer want to continue life. I am happy to have the chance to end it, and I appreciate the help of the medical profession here in making that possible. I would have preferred to have ended it in Australia.

-David Goodall


Exit International founder and director Dr Philiip Nitschke in Basel. -AFP

Goodall died peacefully in Basel. The death occurred at 1030 GMT from an infusion of Nembutal, a barbiturate, at the Life Cycle clinic.

-Philip Nitschke, Founder, Exit International


In assisted dying, the person must be physically capable of carrying out the final deed on their own. In Goodall’s case that meant he had himself to open the valve that allowed the short-acting barbiturate to mix with a saline solution and flow into his vein.