The last of the Iron Lungs

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The last of the Iron Lungs

Postby koimaster » December 9th 2017, 10:17pm

i remember these from my youth. Hopefully we have progressed far enough medically not to need these beyond the few survivors of the 50's and 60's.

Martha Lillard spends half of every day with her body encapsulated in a half-century old machine that forces her to breathe. Only her head sticks out of the end of the antique iron lung. On the other side, a motorized lever pulls the leather bellows, creating negative pressure that induces her lungs to suck in air.

In 2013, the Post-Polio Health International (PHI) organizations estimated that there were six to eight iron lung users in the United States. Now, PHI executive director Brian Tiburzi says he doesn’t know anyone alive still using the negative-pressure ventilators. This fall, I met three polio survivors who depend on iron lungs. They are among the last few, possibly the last three in the US. ... d=45673392


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Re: The last of the Iron Lungs

Postby conjurer » December 10th 2017, 12:07am

A fantastic story, Alain, thanks.

It bothers the shit out of me when I meet people who don't want to vaccinate their kids. These people are so incredibly fucking stupid they should be fucking sterilized.
I checked you out, and I now want you to take the journey to lick my taint. It's small, but vast.

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Re: The last of the Iron Lungs

Postby biglove » December 10th 2017, 12:56am

Read this story in the last couple of weeks. Thankfully her friends and neighbors have helped keep her alive by doing what the medical equipment company will not.

Vaccination should be mandatory. Period. No choice.

To those who don’t vaccinate, your failure to vaccinate your kids endangers ALL of us.
"Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please."- Mark Twain

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Re: The last of the Iron Lungs

Postby kevco » December 10th 2017, 6:51am

My uncle Jerry who passed away last year was at one time the only medic in the USAF who knew how to operate this machine. He was a one hell of a Combat Air Rescue medic from that era.
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Re: The last of the Iron Lungs

Postby Mortuus » December 10th 2017, 8:24am

I remember being terrified at the very mention of the term "iron lung," so much so that when my folks tried to take me to meet a relative who was a mere ten years older than me, and stuck in one of those things, I made a terrible scene outside of his convalescent living facility, literally kicking and screaming, and eventually running off to hide from both my poor cousin and my shocked parents. Now, before you decide it's time to give my mom and dad a dollop of sympathy here and move on, I need to tell you that you'd be wasting your F#@$%&G time. They knew full well how completely terrified I was of that device -- hell, I wouldn't even look at pictures of them in those ubiquitous Time-Life books that were just rampant with shots of the fucking things -- yet they went ahead and tried to introduce me to my hapless cousin, Terry, anyway, as an odd sort of 'tough love' effort to make me face my fears. It was Terry who told me many years later (long after he'd left that terrible machine behind) that he'd heard my screaming that day through an open window, and had actually felt sorry for me and very angry with my parents. Terry and I went on to become the closest of friends in the years that followed, and I consider myself to be blessed for all of that, but my fear of that machine, of what it came to represent in my mind, was just too much for my childhood intellect to deal with.

I'm very grateful that you posted this piece, Alain, because I was able to see past that still-haunting image of the pale yellow beast I feared so much as a child, to really see and appreciate the remarkable people who spent -- and still spend -- so much of their time inside them. Each of these people have led full and complete lives, and that is a priceless thing for someone such as myself, whose ignorant fear would have kept me from meeting one of the dearest friends I'll ever have. Many thanks, Alain...
"In the End, we will be remembered not for the words of our enemies, but for the silence of our friends." - Dr. Martin Luther King
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