Afterword The Birth of Pegasos - Professor David Goodall Story
At 104 years of age, Professor David Goodall was Exit International’s oldest member. He died on 10 May 2018 at Basel in Switzerland. In many ways, David Goodall was an unlikely activist. This short summary of the weeks leading up to his death provides a behind-the-scenes look at how this elderly English- Australian man grabbed world attention through his decision to die in Switzerland.
With an Exit membership number of 1848, David Goodall had been a member of Exit for almost 20 years. A regular attendee at Exit meetings, he would often arrive late and leave early. As one who relied on public transport, he had to fit in. Always quiet during workshops, David would often seek a private conversation with Dr Philip Nitschke at the tea break. He said he had purchased nitrogen in 2012. He wanted to be prepared.
As the years went by, David soldiered on. That was until shortly before his 104th birthday when he tried to end his life. This attempt failed. The outcome was a frustrated, desperate man who was fast-losing his dignity. This is when his daughter, Karen Goodall, emailed Exit asking for help.
By this time, David was in the clutches of the medical profession. A second suicide attempt was out of the question. Shockingly, the doctors were threatening to certify him (due to his failed suicide attempt and ongoing frailty). The only choice that remained open to David was the ‘Swiss Option’.