404 Theatre

Episode 0 - Digital Euthanasia

The man has been in coma for nearly two years. He lost his consciousness from a car accident as well as his ability of spontaneous respiration so that he is now hooked to a machine that breathes for him which is keeping him alive, together with a nourishing device which injects chemicals directly into his blood stream. His bed is surrounded by a set of medical equipments that tells doctors and nurses who visit the room the frequencies of his respiration and heartbeat, the blood pressure, and everything that are considered necessary for monitoring his so called well-being.

The room is very quiet. The only sounds which can be heard are periodic noises created by the respiration machine and the cardiologic monitor. There is no one looking after him in the room. In fact, no doctor or nurse has visited him for days now. Apparently, he is an unpopular patient.

Actually, the room is not in a hospital but in the basement of a house where he has lived. The medical equipments are probably connected to his doctor's office via ISDN line, making frequent visits to the room unnecessary.

The doctor's office is not the only place to which the equipments are connected. There is a Web server machine at the corner of the room, and anyone who has an access to WWW may monitor his respiration, heartbeat and blood pressure, and view the room in real-time at the Web site dedicated to this room. There is even a live audio broadcast from the room, by which I could tell that the room was quiet except for the sounds from the machines.

The strangest thing is that the site has a button with a detailed instruction and explanation of the consequence. As if foreseeing his future, the man wrote his will when he was well which stated that should a situation arises where he loses his consciousness and there is no hope for a recovery, he would like to leave the right for pressing the button for mercy killing to the public. When the situation did arise, his friend, the designated executor of the will, decided to place the button on the Internet.

Up to today, there have been 3,143 visitors to the site and no one has pressed the button. The man is alive and his heart is beating at the ratio of 59 bpm.

If you dare to visit the site and press the button, click here.


Every episode in 404 Theatre is fictional, and has no relationship whatsoever with an actual person, organization, event, etc. Musée Psyché and the copyright owner owe no responsibility to any damages resulting from a reaction toward an episode in this theatre.

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Copyright © Kenji Saito, 1996