David Goodall's death a final contribution to society, says daughter

104yo David Goodall at home

In 2015, 965 people died by assisted suicide in Switzerland, according to the country's federal statistics bureau.

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.

"At my age, or less than my age, one wants to be free to choose the death when the death is at an appropriate time", Prof Goodall told reporters. Goodall was not terminally ill, but his health had deteriorated badly in recent years, according to The New York Times. A doctor put a cannula in his arm, and Goodall turned a wheel to allow the solution to flow, Exit International said.

Euthanasia is illegal in Australia, though the state of Victoria is planning to allow assisted dying from mid-2019.

Matt Valliere, executive director of Patients Rights Action Fund, told CNA in e-mail comments that it would "be a mistake" to use Goodall's death as an example in advocating for legalized assisted suicide. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the longtime member of the pro-euthanasia group Exit International talked with reporters about his particular case and why he was choosing to end his long life.

Prof Goodall flew from Perth, where his daughter, son and grandchildren also live, to France last week to see relatives before arriving in Switzerland, where assisted dying is legal. "As an instrument of freeing the elderly from the need to pursue their life irrespective", he said at the news conference on Wednesday.

"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.

I'm content to leave them undone, he added.

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Mr Goodall's last meal was his favourite - fish and chips and cheesecake - and in his final minutes he was played Ode to Joy from Beethoven's 9th symphony.

The lethal cocktail is normally ingested, but since Goodall couldn't swallow, the substance was injected intravenously.

Under Swiss law, Goodall was required to complete the final process himself, without any assistance from a third party, by opening a valve that releases the fatal liquid.

"In fact his last words were: 'This is taking an awfully long time!'".

"In 1998 ECU appointed him as an Honorary Research Associate (and was later appointed an Honorary Research Fellow), a role he held up until his passing".

He wanted no funeral and requested that his body be donated to medicine or his ashes sprinkled locally, Exit International said. He did not believe in an afterlife, the organization said.

"I hope something positive will come out of my story and that other countries will adopt a more liberal view of assisted suicide", he said.

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