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A Swiss clinic regrets that Australia prevents a 104-year-old scientist from dying

Ⓒ Exit International/AFP – – – | The Australian scientist David Goodall, with Carol O’Neill, of Exit International, which advocates voluntary euthanasia, in an image released on April 30, 2018 in Perth

The co-founder of the Swiss clinic that will help a 104-year-old Australian scientist die, described as “atrocious” the fact that Australia has not authorized him to end his life in his own country.

David Goodall, who was spoken of two years ago when his university tried to remove him from his position, does not suffer from any terminal illness, but believes that his quality of life is deteriorated and that it is time to leave.

“But since it is not in terminal phase (…) it has to come to Switzerland,” lamented Ruedi Habegger, co-founder of Eternal Spirit, one of the many foundations in Switzerland that help people who want to end their lives.

“It is an atrocity, this old man (…) should be able to die at home, in his bed, as can be done here in Switzerland,” he said in an interview with AFP.

Goodall must commit suicide at the Eternal Spirit clinic, near Basel, on May 10.

Assisted suicide is illegal in most of the world. It was totally banned in Australia until the state of Victoria legalized assisted death last year.

But this law, which will not take effect until June 2019, only applies to patients in the terminal phase, with a life expectancy of less than six months.

– Voluntary assisted death –

According to the Helvetic law, any person who is lucid and who has expressed a desire to put an end to their life for some time may ask for what is called voluntary assisted death (MVA).

“If a healthy person comes and says ‘I am sane and I have decided to die’, in theory your reasons do not concern you,” said Habegger.

But he recognizes that it is strange that healthy people ask to die and stresses that most doctors would hesitate to cooperate.

The vast majority of the approximately 80 people who come to Eternal Spirit each year to die are old, sick or suffering, with an average age of 76, he said, adding that the youngest was 32 years old and the oldest – even the oldest. moment- 99.

– “Very upset” –

“I do not want to go to Switzerland,” the scientist told Australian television ABC before embarking on his last trip on Wednesday. But he explained that he must have “taken the opportunity of suicide denied me by the Australian system.”

“I’m very upset,” added this honorary associate researcher at Edith Cowan University in Perth.

Before going to the Swiss clinic this week, you will visit your children in France.

Unlike Exit, Switzerland’s largest suicide aid association, which only serves Swiss residents, 75% of Eternal Spirit patients are foreigners, who must pay for medical examinations and admission fees, expensive in Switzerland. .

But Habegger explains that the clinic does not benefit from MVA, as Swiss law requires.

The Swiss usually choose to die at home, but for foreigners the clinic offers furnished premises with enough rooms for family and friends.

Habegger indicated that Goodall will travel with a friend who will accompany him to the end.

– “Short and quiet” –

In an assisted death, the person must be physically able to take charge of the last act.

Most Swiss foundations ask the patient to take pentobarbital sodium, a powerful sedative that stops the heartbeat in high doses.

Before a camera, the patient says his name, his date of birth and confirms that he knows what he is about to do.

The patient then opens the valve that releases the product. The camera continues recording as proof that it is a voluntary act.

“Then we turned off the camera, because the following is intimate, private,” explains Habegger.

The person falls asleep in about 20-30 seconds. “It sinks deeper and deeper until the heart muscle stops.”

The total duration usually lasts one and a half minutes. “It’s not painful, it’s short and quiet,” he adds.

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