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Polio Survivor, 82, Is One of the Last 3 People in the U.S. to Use an Iron Lung


Mona Randolph, an 82-year-old polio survivor is one of the last three people in the US that uses an iron lung.

Iron lungs have become obsolete with only three people remaining in the US who use it. One of them is the polio survivor Mona Randolph who relies on this 700-lb. device to keep her alive.

She was diagnosed with polio in 1956 when she was 20 years old. The vaccine for polio was invented in 1955 but the doctors considered she was too old to get vaccinated.

When she went to the Kansas City hospital with extreme headache and fever, the doctors immediately put her in an iron lung.

“They happened to have one in the basement because people were not using them much then,” she told The Kansas City Star.

Fortunately, she survived the polio virus. However, her left arm was completely and permanently paralyzed, therefore she became somehow dependent on other people to help her live her life.

She didn’t have to use the iron lung for a few decades, but she still needed to go to other therapies and treatments.

Then, in the 80s, she began having difficulties breathing again and therefore she started using the iron lung at night. She has been using it ever since.

Her husband Mark together with her friend help her get into the 6-foot-long device 6 nights a week. It takes an hour to get her there.

The machine doesn’t cover Randolph’s head, only her body. The device uses negative pressure to contract and expand her lungs and chest to help her breathe.

She considers the iron lung machine “her savior.”

Mary Wright