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What Life Was Like Trapped Inside an Iron Lung

It Save Lives But At What Cost?

By Amine OubihPublished 2 months ago 3 min read
What Life Was Like Trapped Inside an Iron Lung
Photo by Robina Weermeijer on Unsplash

Autosuggest me to be a ‘coke’ doctor, I bet not everyone would associate the term ‘iron lung’ with a medical appliance but, to the contrary, a likelier scenario is that it may simply trigger a quest to unravel the mysteries in a dystopian video game. On the one hand, it must be admitted that the iron lung was the backdrop for outstanding achievements in the field of medical science, but on the other, it is hard to ignore the polarity it had in the life span of the human spirit.

A lung made of iron (iron lung) is not a machine where somebody purposely puts himself. It is a ponderous-size, person-oriented apparatus created to help the lungs function properly in case the natural functioning of respiration is either impaired or completely blocked. This attribution generally results from the usually polio infection cases that weakens muscles and hence stops the body from carrying out the necessary functions of breathing. The urgency here demands an emergency intervention by the iron lung equipment that precisely manages air pressure, the level of which is required to attract, as well as repel, air that is blown in and off the patient’s lungs to ultimately, and quite straightforwardly, facilitate respiration and sustain a patient’s life.

The use of the iron lung was a little bit later when the deadly virus catches up globally, called Polio, which is a highly contagious viral infection which happens in the early to mid 20th century. One of the common devastations was the polio epidemic that overpowered the neighborhoods leaving thousands, mainly the children, limbless and with respiratory difficulties. With such the ventilator as a hope for these jobs, two medical men called Philip Drinker and Louis Shaw had it as a ray of hope in the middle of a terrible influenza epidemic.

But, as a total immersion into a steel pod, the feeling of the iron lung was far away from comfort. The patients- sometimes, young kids- got into the enclosure of the metal chamber, their body completely immobile while their face jutted out the hood for the machine, supported by the face mask to clear any mucus. Nurses devoted all their efforts to comfort these patients undergoing the healing process, providing more than mere medical attention but also the basic amenities of kind touch and fellowship.

For most, the iron lung was a symbol of their raveling to survive as well as they endured to continue living. By use of such example as second grade patient Paul Alexander who had spent eighteen months in an iron lung after he had contracted polio at the age of six, one can imagine the ineffable challenges that the patients went through. The only purpose that this machine has was to breath for them but all of life within confinements was monotonous and also full of uncertainty. Even though the devastating effects of the disease were against them, patients like Paul showed an amazing strength in staying determined and positive. Besides, they served as the role models to those who had given up and were weary, providing them with hope and inspiration.

The history of the iron lung is far beyond just treating polio during polio outbreaks historically. It is a time for reflection. It is the period when we all get to know about the unwavering human spirit and the limitlessly innovative capacity of a person to move on the path of restorations despite all the hardships. Progress with medical technology has made iron lung a thing of the past as a rule; however, its position as the metaphor of courage and hope cannot be secured at the same time. As we look into the history of iron lung, let us respectfully remember lives that it saved and also highly praiseful people that it was needed by for survival.

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About the Creator

Amine Oubih

🌟Amine Oubih🌟

📝 Writer | 🎨 Creative | 🌍 Explorer

Hello,I am a traveler and writer. Whether It's Real Or Fiction, I always find something interesting to write about, and I use this content to spark the desire to learn more in readers.

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    Amine OubihWritten by Amine Oubih

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