A US man has spent more than seven decades in a 600kg iron lung after contracting polio at the age of six.
Paul Alexander has been paralyzed from the neck down since 1952 due to the disease, which makes him unable to breathe on his own.
See also: The order of the diseases you do, more important than you think. What researchers have discovered, the fascinating link with life expectancy
The story of Paul Alexander
According to the New York Post, Polio Paul refused to switch to a modern device, even though he was offered this opportunity. In March, Guinness World Records declared the 77-year-old the longest-living iron lung patient ever.
Alexander has faced many challenges since he was born in 1946. He endured the worst polio outbreak in US history, with nearly 58,000 cases, mostly children.
The disease severely affected Paul Alexander, requiring him to use a machine to breathe and ultimately to survive.
Polio is a disabling and life-threatening disease caused by the polio virus. The virus is spread from person to person and can infect a person’s spinal cord, causing paralysis.
The polio vaccine was not approved and widely administered to children in the US until 1955. The country was declared polio-free in 1979, but it was too late for Mr. Alexander at that time.
He underwent an emergency tracheotomy and was placed in an iron lung to help his body fight the fatal disease.
Many years ago, The Guardian wrote that the device did not allow him to move, cough or wheeze. Its field of view is also limited.
Telling about the other children who underwent the same operation, he recounted at one point “As far as you can see, rows and rows of iron lungs. Full of children”.
See also: The surprising cause of many heart diseases. It makes more victims than smoking and cholesterol, you will be more careful
He never made friends, he had no way
Alexander said he couldn’t make friends because “every time I made a friend, they died.”
He recalled that the doctors used to say about him that he was “going to die”, that he “shouldn’t be alive”. It was these remarks that helped him live, setting out to prove them wrong.
He explained to The Guardian that by the time newer machines were developed, he was already used to his “old iron horse”.
It uses a technique called ‘frog breathing’, which uses the muscles of the throat to force air past the vocal cords, allowing the patient to swallow oxygen gulp by gulp before pushing it into the lungs.
After finishing school, Paul Alexander graduated with a law degree and practiced law for several years, despite his difficult condition.
See also: The rare disease that King Charles suffers from. The signs are visible, he can’t hide it anymore