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Meet The Last Man On Earth Who Uses An Iron Lung

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Gizmo

A 71-year-old polio survivor is one of the last people on earth to still use an iron lung.

For the past 65 years, Paul Alexander has spent half of every day inside his yellow contraption.

"There are only two or three of us left," Alexander said in an interview with Gizmo. "I've tried all the ventilators available and this one is the best. It feels like a more natural way of breathing."

For those who are unaware of the machine, an iron lung is a negative pressure ventilator, which helps survivors breathe by drawing oxygen into their lungs by creating a vacuum.

According to the Centres for Disease Control, the 1950s had the worst outbreak of the disease, with more than 15,000 cases of paralysis recorded each year.  

While the anti-polio vaccine eradicated in the U.S. in 1979, the disease is still a rampant epidemic in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria.

For most people, the machine was only necessary for a couple of weeks, but those who suffered from permanent damage, it has become a indispensable part of their every day lives.

Despite the iron lung becoming an essential part of Alexander’s existence, he hasn’t let it stop him from achieving his life’s goals.

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