Sunday, November 26, 2017

Last Iron Lungs - POLIO

America's last iron lungs: Incredible video shows polio survivors whose life saving-equipment is repaired by car mechanics and engineers after health insurers and manufacturers stopped covering the devices 13 years ago

  • Paul Alexander, 70, of Dallas, is one of just a handful of people around the world who still relies on an iron lung to help him breathe
  • Manufacturing ceased in the 1960s and now polio survivors such as Alexander are forced to rely on car mechanics and engineers to fix the life-saving device
  • Alexander spends almost every moment in the device after contracting polio as a five-year-old in 1952 
  • Martha Ann Lillard's crippling illness has made her a prisoner in her own home for more than 60 years after she was paralyzed by polio at age five
  • She says that modern alternatives to the iron lung are simply not as efficient
  • Her iron lung runs on a fan belt motor that friends help patch together with car parts when it breaks
  • The last big outbreak of polio in the US took place in 1952, but polio was eradicated by 1979 thanks to the vaccine

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