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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Polio Survivor Paul Passes Away After 70 Years in Iron Lung

StoriesPolio Survivor Paul Passes Away After 70 Years in Iron Lung

This week marked the death of a Polio Survivor Paul who had an iron lung for more than 70 years. After contracting polio in Dallas, Texas, in 1952 when he was six years old, Paul Alexander—also referred to as “the man in the iron lung” or “Polio Paul”—was left paralyzed. He was nearly dead when surgeons placed an iron lung in him since he was only able to move his mouth, neck, and head.

Sadly, an update on his GoFundMe page on Tuesday showed he passed away on Monday, March 11, despite the machine keeping him alive for seven decades. “Paul Alexander, ‘The Man in the Iron Lung,’ passed away yesterday,” the message states. After surviving polio as a child, he lived over 70 years inside of an iron lung.

Paul attended college, graduated, and started a career as a published author during this time. His tale spread far and wide, having a beneficial impact on individuals all around the world.

“Paul will always be remembered as a fantastic role model. Though we shall miss you, Paul, you will never forget. We appreciate you telling us your tale.”

Philip, his brother, also left a comment, saying, “I am really appreciative of everyone who contributed to my brother’s fundraiser. It made the final years of his life stress-free. It will also cover his burial expenses during this trying time.

“Reading through all of the comments and realizing how many people Paul inspired is just amazing. I’m really very appreciative.”

In 1952, Paul Alexander contracted polio, which rendered him paralyzed. He was nearly dead when surgeons placed an iron lung in him since he could only move his mouth, neck, and head.

New donations to the GoFundMe have now been disabled by organizer Christopher Ulmer. More than $143,000 (£111,765) was raised through the page, and that amount was utilized to pay for his accommodation and medical expenses. ‘Three Minutes for a Dog: My Life in an Iron Lung’, Paul’s biography, was released in 2020. Guinness World Records acknowledged him as the person who had lived in an iron lung for the longest period of time.

Paul had a predicament when his machine started to malfunction; Gizmodo posted a video on YouTube that details what transpired. He had few options when the problems began because the Iron Lungs, which were manufactured for the first time in 1927, were completely out of stock.

Brady’s concerns regarding a machine that he claimed was “very worn out,” “leaking really bad,” and unable to “produce enough pressure” to allow him to breathe comfortably were captured on camera. Thankfully, Paul’s request for assistance with his equipment was noticed by Brady Richards, the chief of the Environmental Testing Laboratory and a hobbyist mechanic, who contacted him to offer his assistance.

After Paul’s original home fell into what he believed to be decay, Richards was able to restore the equipment in a garage. If Brady hadn’t been there for him, Paul claimed his “life would be down the tubes”.

In the middle of the 1900s, polio killed thousands of people annually and afflicted tens of thousands more. About 0.5 percent of cases resulted in some type of paralysis as a result of the infectious disease attacking the central nervous system.

Virologist Jonas Salk developed the vaccine in 1953, and after extensive vaccination campaigns, health officials proclaimed the US polio-free in 1979. When polio was at its worst, people who had paralysis around their lungs—which prevented them from breathing—needed iron lungs.


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