In 2005, husband, father, and rugby fan Tony Nicklinson suffered a massive stroke that paralyzed him – almost completely. He now suffers from what is know as “Locked in syndrome,” a condition that leaves nearly every voluntary muscle in the human body paralyzed – except for the eyes. This means that the person is completely awake and aware, but unable to even speak.
But today, with the help of some special eye-tracking tech, Tony sent out his very first tweets.
“Hello world,” he says. “I am tony nicklinson. I have locked-in syndrome and this is my first ever tweet.” In all, Tony has been able to send out four tweets since Wednesday evening.
I have just had an old school friend call in for a chat with us but mostly Jane because she can speak. Still, it was nice to see him.#tony
Channel 4 will air a documentary on Tony on June 18th as part of its “Dispatches” series. According to the episode description, we can expect it to be rather heavy-hitting:
Tony Nicklinson wants to die, but he cannot kill himself without help, and anyone who helped him would be committing murder.
On the eve of a historic and controversial legal bid to demand the right to be killed, he tells his story, comes face to face with his critics, and hears from the Greek doctor who saved his life seven years earlier, who says he wouldn’t wish this condition on his worst enemy.
Locked-in syndrome is a rare but truly terrifying condition that can result from traumatic brain injury, certain diseases, or even an overdose. The condition was made famous by journalist Jean-Dominique Bauby, whose memoir The Diving Bell and the Butterfly was turned into a critically-acclaimed film in 2007.
Watch Tony send out his first-ever tweet using the eye-tracking technology in this clip from the documentary:[h/t Mashable]