Disappearance. At 78, “the man in an iron lung” died in the United States

Disappearance.  At 78, “the man in an iron lung” died in the United States


An American nicknamed “the man in an iron lung” has died after using a machine to help him breathe for seven decades. Paul Alexander, 78, contracted polio as a child, and has since been paralyzed from the neck down.

Even though he had to be confined very often in this machine which enveloped his entire body, leaving only his head visible, he had managed to obtain a law degree and practice in this field. He also published a book.

Victim of Covid?

His brother, Philip Alexander, announced the news on Facebook “with a heavy heart”. Paul “touched and was an inspiration to millions of people,” he said.

The reason for death was not given, but according to a video recently posted on Paul Alexander’s official TikTok account, he had contracted Covid-19.

Christopher Ulmer, the organizer of a fundraising campaign which was intended in particular to help him pay his health costs, also confirmed his death on the GoFundMe site. “His story has traveled far, and has had a positive influence on people around the world,” wrote Christopher Ulmer, who met him in 2022.

A record duration

An iron lung is a chamber that uses pumps to allow the patient to breathe. This invention helped combat the devastating effects of polio.

Cases of polio, a serious infectious disease for which there is now a vaccine, have declined enormously around the world, but it remains present in a few countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Paul Alexander held the record for time spent in this machine, approximately 70 years. According to its web page on the website of the Guinness World Recordshe had learned to breathe for “prolonged periods” outside of the machine, contracting his throat muscles to force air into his lungs.


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