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Man relied on iron lungs to breathe for 70 years after contracting polio

Wednesday, 31/01/2024, 08:28 (GMT+7)

A Texas man suffered from polio that forced him to live in an iron lung for more than 70 years.

For over 70 years, a Texas man has endured life inside an iron lung after being afflicted with polio. This disease left him paralyzed from the neck down, necessitating the use of the iron lung for respiratory support. 

Despite the difficulties, he has persisted, finding ways to adapt and improve his quality of life with the support of the machine.

Man relied on iron lungs to breathe for 70 years after contracting polio 1
A Texas man suffered polio and had to live on an iron lung machine for breathing for 70 years. Image Credit: Youtube/The Last Few Polio Survivors

A Texas man lived in an iron lung machine for more than 70 years after contracting polio.

Paul Alexander, from Texas, had to endure a difficult life inside an iron lung machine after contracting polio. This terrible disease paralyzed his entire body except for his head, forcing him to use an iron lung machine to support his breathing.

He contracted polio in 1952 and has been living in this terrifying iron lung machine ever since to support his breathing and life support.

Man relied on iron lungs to breathe for 70 years after contracting polio 2
Paul has contracted polio since he was 6 years old. Image Credit: Youtube/The Last Few Polio Survivors

The iron lung machine resembled a metal coffin with a vacuum device fastened around his neck.

When in operation, it creates a negative pressure to draw oxygen into the lungs, supporting breathing for people paralyzed throughout the body due to polio affecting the central nervous system and respiratory function.

During the years he lived in the iron lung machine, Paul could not move freely and could not participate in normal activities like other people.

However, he did not accept this fate and tried to find a way to improve his situation by creating a new breathing method.

Man relied on iron lungs to breathe for 70 years after contracting polio 3
Paul developed a new breathing method called 'frog breathing'. Image Credit: Youtube: The Last Few Polio Survivors

The man develops a new breathing method called 'frog breathing'.

The 77-year-old man developed a new breathing method called "frog breathing" to help him breathe outside of an iron lung machine for some time.

This method is based on swallowing air and applying pressure using the muscles of the throat. He worked hard and patiently to practice this skill, and after a long time, he succeeded.

Thanks to "frog breathing", he was able to temporarily get out of the iron lung machine and participate in outdoor activities, an important experience for him after many years of living in the iron lung machine.

Man relied on iron lungs to breathe for 70 years after contracting polio 4
He can live outside the iron lug machine for a time thanks to 'frog breathing' method. Image Credit: Youtube: The Last Few Polio Survivors

Although he still had to use an iron lung machine while sleeping, he had gone beyond its limits.

He graduated from high school and continued his college education through distance learning. His life and patience are an inspiration to many.

Paul fulfills his dream of studying to become a lawyer with an iron lung machine

Paul once surprised many people when he brought his iron lung into the Texas University dormitory to facilitate studying and support breathing.

To ensure his health while studying at the University of Texas, Paul hired a physical and hygiene caregiver.

The man also organized protests for disability rights and published a book called 'Three Minutes for a Dog: My Life in an Iron Lung'.

Tags: man iron lung