Texas man one of last in world with an iron lung

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A Texas man is one of the last people in the world to still have an iron lung.

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Paul Alexander, 75, is known as “Polio Paul.” He’s been confined to an iron lung since he contracted polio in 1952 when he was six years old.

Iron lungs used to be commonplace following their invention in the 1920s. In 1959, 1,200 Americans relied on iron lungs, according to the New York Post .

But now, Alexander is believed to be one of only two Americans who remain reliant on an iron lung. The polio vaccine worked wonders, and in 1979, America was declared polio-free.

“I lost everything: the ability to move, my legs would not hold me up and then I couldn’t breathe,” Alexander said in a video from Reuters.

He was paralyzed from the waist down, but eventually became a lawyer in 1984.

“Finally something good happened, I wanted to be a lawyer for a long time,” he said in the video.

Alexander spent decades working in the legal field, and was eventually able to leave the iron lung for minutes at a time after learning how to “frog breathe,” according to the Guardian .

“I wanted to accomplish the things I was told I couldn’t accomplish,” he said, “and to achieve the dreams I dreamed.”


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