With only three remaining in the United States, the iron lungs are almost obsolete – but Mona Randolph, a surviving polio, is based on one of the 700 pounds. devices to keep it alive.
Randolph, 82, used the device since he was diagnosed with poliomyelitis in 1956. He was 20 years old and doctors believed he was too old for the vaccine he had invented just one year earlier.
He had gone to the hospital in Kansas City with a huge headache, fever and difficulty in breathing, and the doctors immediately put Randolph in an iron lung.
"It has happened to have one in the basement because people do not use them long then," he told The city of Kansas.
Randolph survived the poliomyelitis virus but his left hand was permanently paralyzed and became dependent on others to live her life. Although he did not have to use the iron lung for several decades, he needed other treatments and went to the same premises in Warm Springs, France as President Franklin Roosevelt.
Then, in the '80s, breathing became difficult again, and Randolph had to start using the iron lung at night. He has been using it since then – for 36 years.
He now goes to the 6-foot six-night device a week. It takes a while for Radul to find the iron lung – which he calls a "yellow submarine" – with the help of Marcus' wife and a friend or helper.
The machine does not cover its head – on the contrary, Randolph's body goes into the iron lung, which uses negative pressure to expand and contract the chest and lungs to help it breathe.
It uses a more modern device during the day – a CPAP machine – but Randolph says it's not a fan. The machine comfortably balances the air in the lungs through a breathing tube in its mouth and the three CPAP machines appear to be always broken.
Randolph said that the iron lung, in comparison, is a "relief".