Switzerland: 104-year-old man ends life on his own terms

Final day The 104-year-old British Australian is a world-renowned botanist and ecologist

Final day The 104-year-old British Australian is a world-renowned botanist and ecologist

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.

Australia's oldest scientist Professor David Goodall has ended his life at a Swiss clinic.

Prof Goodall was asked four questions to confirm he was still lucid and knew what he was about to do, the final being "What is going to happen when you press the button?"

The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg permit euthanasia and assisted suicide.

In the U.S., California, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Vermont, Washington state and Washington, D.C., have "death with dignity" laws, according to the advocacy group Death with Dignity, although these require a person to have a terminal illness.

Professor Goodall said he was not terminally ill but his body was failing him. "And I'm very happy to end it", Goodall said Thursday in the room where he died shortly after.

The "Ode to Joy" of Beethoven's 9th Symphony began to play in German.

"I would quite like to be remembered as an instrument of freeing the elderly from the need to pursue their life irrespective", the honorary research associate at Perth's Edith Cowman University said, according to The Local.

The laws differ for euthanasia, in which a doctor actively administers a lethal drug, than for assisted suicide, which require the participants to take a type of active measure, like taking pills themselves.

What I would like is for other countries to follow Switzerland's lead and make these facilities available to all clients, if they meet the requirements, and the requirements not just of age, but of mental capacity.

Drake noted: "It's one thing for me to say that, it's another thing for Derek Humphry, who embodies the assisted suicide movement, to say it".

He further explained, "My abilities have been declining over the past year or two, and my eyesight for the past five or six years, and I no longer want to continue life". Switzerland is the only country that offers these services to foreigners.

Goodall said he thought it was time for him to die.

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.

"The message I would like to send is: once one passes the age of 50 or 60, one should be free to decide for oneself whether one wants to go on living or not", he said, the Swiss News Agency, SDA-ATS reported.

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