Victims Live: Iron Lung |
the mid-1950s polio was a disease which impacted millions. Allowed time after
the disease's often-deadly onset, many of polio's symptoms lessen. The development
of a device which would let the patient breathe and therefore live was critical.
The original respirator, or iron lung, was constructed of a galvanized iron box
and two vacuum pumps with hand-operated valves. The device exerted a push-pull
motion on the chest.
Harvard medical researcher Phillip Drinker, assisted
by Louis Agassiz Shaw, invented the original model. A second machine, manufactured
by Warren E. Collins Inc. in Boston, was first used at Children's Hospital by
a child suffering from respiratory failure due to polio.
Life in the Rhythm of an Iron Lung, A Memoir |
by Martha Mason, 2003