Everything is possible through technology, a lot of time has passed and the advances of the human being continue surprising us in many different ways. The 20th century was a witness to many important discoveries that gave invaluable support to the human kind, especially in the medical field. To those persons who are always sick or suffer from very serious diseases, this type of improvement brings out a lot of hope to their lives, take the invention of antibiotics for example, if this medicine had not been invented a lot of human lives would be lost.
One of these major inventions was the Iron Lung, you probably haven’t heard about this or simply don’t remember this technology regarding the fact that was invented in the 1950s. The Iron Lung was one of the best inventions of its time and this machine was designed to help the persons that were unable to brief or presented a difficult respiratory trouble. It was originally invented to treat patients with a disease call it Polio.
A lot of humans don’t really know what is Poliomyelitis. The Polio is a rare infectious disease caused by the poliovirus, in almost 1% of the cases the virus affects the nervous system originating general weakness, loss of motor functions and disabling the diaphragm. Paul Alexander was only six years old when doctors diagnosed him in 1952 with the disease, one day he started to feel a little bit ill and his mother knew right away that something was terribly wrong. Over the next 5 days he lost everything, he was paralyzed from the neck down and needed the Iron Lung to help him breathe.
As the Polio affected the diaphragm, his body didn’t breathe naturally like the rest of the world, he has to think consciously about it to obligate his lungs during the process. This is a very exhaustive activity for Paul, which is why he has to spend most of his time inside the machine. This mechanism works through a negative pressure that forces his body to take in the air.
It was a very chaotic time in those days, schools, camps, theaters, pools everything shut down because of the fear occasioned by this disease. Parents were petrified by the concept of Polio, they were afraid that their sons may contract the Polio on the streets. Fortunately, a couple of months later a doctor called Jonas Salk discovered the vaccine for Polio and a terrible global crisis was prevented.
Paul is one of the last living Polio survivors who has such a bad case of paralysis and is still depending on relic machine like the Iron Lung. With such an old device he has serious difficulties to find spare parts and qualified assistance to repair the machine. Thankfully a friend of Paul published a video to spread the word and a local engineer was able to answer the call.
But despite all the inconvenient that this rare illness brought, Paul never felt like a cripple he enjoyed every minute of his life, he graduated from college and he even wrote a book to share all his knowledge with the rest of the world.
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