Last Man Living in an Iron Lung Passes Away

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Paul Alexander, the last man living in an iron lung in the United States. Paul, who was 78 years old, contracted polio at the young age of 6 in 1956 [^1^].

Despite spending over seven decades in an iron lung, Paul lived an extraordinary life. He shared his experiences and journey on social media, particularly on TikTok, where he had over 330,000 followers [^2^]. Through his videos, Paul touched the hearts of many and provided valuable insights into his life.

In February, news surfaced that Paul’s health was deteriorating as he tested positive for COVID-19 and was rushed to the emergency room [^3^]. His followers showered him with love and support, keeping him in their thoughts and prayers [^4^].


Replying to @ⁱˢᵃ ˡᵉᵗ ᵐᵉ ˢᵉᵉ ᵗʰᵉ ᵈᵘⁿᵏˢ Thank you for all of your questions! Paul understands that even questions about the most basic functions of his life are valuable! conversationswithpaul ironlung poliopaul PaulAlexander QandA

♬ original sound – Paul “Polio Paul” Alexander

Despite the challenges he faced, Paul was able to achieve remarkable accomplishments. He earned his law degree from the University of Texas at Austin in 1986 and even practiced law successfully [^5^]. However, his inability to leave the iron lung and go to work made him vulnerable to theft by those he trusted, leaving him with little financial support [^6^].

The cost of healthcare and the lack of funds made it difficult for Paul to maintain his iron lung, afford healthcare, and find suitable housing [^7^]. He lived in a small one-room apartment without a window, further adding to his challenges.

As news of Paul’s passing spread, his legacy and the impact of his story were remembered. Christopher Ulmer, the organizer of Paul’s GoFundMe campaign, expressed gratitude for Paul’s willingness to share his story with the world [^8^]. Paul’s brother also expressed appreciation for the donations that allowed Paul to live his last years stress-free and pay for his funeral [^9^]. The outpouring of support and kind words from people inspired by Paul’s life was truly incredible.

Paul Alexander’s journey has touched the hearts of many. Although he is no longer with us, his story will continue to inspire and remind us of the strength and resilience of the human spirit.\


Replying to @Josie While everyone has a unique law school experience, Paul attended UT Law School in a very interesting way… #conversationswithpaul #ironlung #poliopaul #PaulAlexander #QandA

♬ original sound – Paul “Polio Paul” Alexander