B]Locked-in syndrome: what do you want to ask Tony Nicklinson?
Tony Nicklinson, who has locked-in syndrome and wants the right to lawfully end his life, has agreed to be interviewed via Twitter. What would you like to ask him?
Hello world. I am tony nicklinson, I have locked-in syndrome and this is my first ever tweet. #tony
13 Jun 12
That was how Tony Nicklinson, 57, who had a massive stroke in 2005 and now suffers from locked-in-syndrome, announced he had joined Twitter last week. Channel 4 filmed him composing his first tweet and by Sunday night the film clip had been seen over 70,000 times and Tony - 16 tweets in - had over 13,000 followers on Twitter.
This week, Tony's family and legal team will go to the high court and argue on his behalf that a doctor should be allowed to lawfully end his life at the time of Tony's choosing. Tony – previously highly active and sociable – has described his life as "dull, miserable, demeaning, undignified and intolerable".
Locked-in syndrome is where a patient is mentally aware but is paralysed and has no voluntary muscle movement apart from being able to move their eyes. Tony composes his tweets, and emails, via specially adapted software. It allows a program to read his eye movement when he looks at an alphabet on screen, and then converts these into words.
Locked-in-syndrome relates to a physical condition but when one reads Tony's tweets or emails there is nothing locked-in about them. They are cogent, witty, logical and as free to roam, to dispute, to describe, and to entertain as the next person's. Intellectually, Tony is not locked-in.