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Paul Alexander ~ Man Who Lived in an Iron Lung for Most of His Life After Suffering from Poliomyelitis Dies at 78

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Paul Alexander has passed away at the age of 78 on Monday, March 11. The man had spent most of his life within the confines of a machine that functions as a lung for patients with a type of respiratory problem.

This lifestyle started when he was diagnosed with poliomyelitis back in 1952. Alexander was 6 years at the time and was left paralyzed from the neck down after his recovery. His diagphram was affected and could not function properly anymore, so he was placed in the iron lung to help his chances of survival.

Paul Alexander lying within an iron lung
Photo Credit: Gizmodo

In some of the photos released to the public, Paul Alexander was seen with his head on a pillow while the rest of his body was enclosed in the machine.

According to The Guardian, air is being sucked out of the machine by “a set of leather bellows powered by a motor”. They also explained that the “negative pressure created by the vacuum” will then force his “lungs to expand. When the air was pumped back in, the change in pressure gently deflated his lungs”.

Despite the challenges, Alexander still pursued higher education, earning a law degree, and went on to practice law successfully. His journey didn’t stop there; he became a published author, sharing his life’s narrative in his book “Three Minutes For A Dog.”

The accomplished lawyer once told The Guardian back in 2020 that he knew that if he was

“Going to do anything with my life, it was going to have to be a mental thing. I wasn’t going to be a basketball player.”

Sky News reported that he was able to breathe independently for a few hours at a time and communicate using a plastic stick with a pen attached to an end to “tap on a keyboard”.

Before his passing, he faced a persistent respiratory infection and leg pain with every movement. While the cause of death was not explicitly mentioned, it was also noted that he had been hospitalized after contracting COVID-19 but was later released.

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