David Goodall, the Australian scientist who advocated for legally-assisted dying, passed away last week at the age of 104 in Basel Switzerland, where euthanasia is legal. His life ended at the Swiss clinic Life Circle, under the guidance of doctors administering lethal drugs. The ecologist and botanist listened to Ode to Joy by Beethoven, as he passed away.
Goodall sourced more than $20,000 via donations to help with the costs of his trip from Australia to Europe. As per a statement two days prior to his death, Goodall noted that his life was no longer enjoyable as of five to ten years ago, saying this was partly due to failing mobility. He also added that that he would have preferred to die in 1998 at the age of 84, after he lost his driver’s license; which was a huge moment in his life, losing that independence.
As a person who has campaigned to make euthanasia legal, Victoria, Australia is currently looking into allowing this in the state, come the middle of 2019. Goodall’s home state of Western Australia is still debating on the policy. Before he passed away, Goodall’s hope was that his story could lead to making assisted dying legal in other nations.
CNN reported that a number of states in America have some form of assisted dying (under a physician’s guidance), as well some countries, which include Switzerland (of course), Japan, and Belgium.
Goodall was born in April 1914, mere months after World War I broke; as such, his family moved to Australia when he was young. Goodall held academic positions in ecology and botany across the globe, including Australia, the UK, and United States. In 1979, Goodall retired and dove into another role, editor, by editing the Ecosystems of the World, a 30-volume series written by over 500 authors. He was awarded the Order of Australia medal in 2016.