Man who lived with an 'iron lung' due to polio dies aged 78

Paul Alexander, an American who lived in an 'iron lung', a kind of breathing machine, has died aged 78.

USA man lived iron lung polio dies
© angelp / Getty Images
USA man lived iron lung polio dies

Paul Alexander. Doesn't that name ring a bell? Well, he was something of a superhero. Or at least, a man like no other. In fact, this American lived in an 'iron lung' for 72 years.

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Stuck in a noisy vital machine

Paul Alexander was diagnosed with poliomyelitis at the age of 6, in 1952. The disease left him paralyzed from the neck down. To be able to breathe, he was placed in an 'iron lung', a yellow cylindrical metal machine in which he lay for 72 years. From the age of 6 until his death on Tuesday March 12 at the age of 78.

For all those years, Paul Alexander never left the box that allowed him to breathe, with a single cushion for comfort and a crucifix hanging from his iron lung, to tie him to his faith. Several documentaries have been devoted to him, and the images are crazy, overwhelming. The American has lived his life as normally as possible. Indeed, he studied law and graduated to open his own successful practice. At the same time, he wrote several books.

A fund to help him

What did Paul Alexander die of? For the moment, no details of his death have been released. All we know is that he had been suffering from Covid-19 for several days, but whether or not it was this illness that claimed his life is unknown. The bad news came from a fund-raising event organized to help him.

Indeed, Paul Alexander was helped by associations as he found it increasingly difficult to finance his care. His yellow machine was very expensive, and his windowless home was not necessarily suited to his situation. A fund-raising campaign launched during his lifetime to help him reached 130,000 euros. Inspirational Paul Alexander was honored with a tribute:

His story traveled wide and far, positively influencing people around the world. Paul was an incredible role model that will continue to be remembered.
Paul, you will be missed but always remembered. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

This article has been translated from Gentside FR.

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Source used:

GoFundMe: Helping Paul Alexander (The Man in the Iron Lung)

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