Mayukh Saha
Mayukh Saha
April 5, 2024 ·  3 min read

Man Who Live in Iron Lung Since for Over 70 Years Dies at 78

Polio Paul, real name Paul Alexander, passed away. In 1952, when Alexander was six years old, he became ill with polio and had to be taken to a hospital in Texas. Alexander was sickened by a virus that at the time was killing thousands of people, but he lived thanks to an iron lung. He utilized the ground-breaking apparatus for more than 70 years before his untimely death on Sunday, March 10. The news was confirmed yesterday by Christopher Ulmer, the person behind the GoFundMe campaign that was set up to help pay for Alexander’s medical care.

Polio Paul
Image Credits: TikTok

“Paul Alexander, ‘The Man in the Iron Lung,’ passed away yesterday, he said on the fundraiser page. He lived inside of an iron lung for more than 70 years after surviving childhood polio. Paul attended college at this time, graduated, practiced law, and had books published. His tale spread far and wide, having a good impact on people all throughout the world. Paul will always be remembered as a fantastic role model.

The message went on, saying, “Paul and I had an interview in 2022. We raised a substantial sum of money for him from our community. Philip, Paul’s brother, wishes to convey the following message, and we just got off the phone. I sincerely thank everyone who contributed to my brother’s fundraising effort. It made the final years of his life stress-free. It will also cover his burial expenses during this trying time. Reading over all of the comments and realizing how many people Paul inspired is quite amazing. I truly am incredibly appreciative. “Paul, you’ll be missed, but never forgotten. We appreciate you telling us your tale.”

Through the GoFundMe website, Ulmer was able to earn an incredible $143,000 for Alexander, which helped with his housing and medical expenses. Alexander was recognized by Guinness World Records as the person who had lived in an iron lung for the longest period of time before his death.

Polio Survivor’s Legacy Lives On

According to a 2020 story by The Guardian, there is just one other known user of an iron lung in the US. Another UK citizen, who passed away in 2017 at the age of 75, had also utilized an iron lung. Social media has been flooded with tributes to Alexander following his passing. “Sad news Paul Alexander was a remarkable man who had much to teach us about personal resilience,” a reader remarked.

He and other Iron Lung users serve as a reminder of the necessity to develop medical equipment with a long lifespan in mind. His life and demise serve as a reminder of the value of vaccinations.” “So sad to hear that Paul Alexander passed away yesterday at age 78 from Covid-19,” wrote another commenter. Paul was only six years old in 1952 when he became ill with polio. He ended up with an iron lung, and even though he could spend long periods of time outside of it, he never truly went inside.

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