New York. Martha Lillard is one of those polio patients who have survived for decades with iron lungs. On June 8, 1953, Martha Lillard celebrated her fifth birthday with a grand party at an entertainment park in Oklahoma. A little more than a week later, he got a fever. There was a complaint of sore throat and pain in the neck. The family took him to the hospital, where doctors told him that he had polio.
Martha was treated in the hospital for six months. He was having trouble breathing. So the doctors kept him in a huge metal tank. This is a ventilator, which is called iron lung. This helps him to breathe. For 81 years, Lillard has depended on an iron lung to survive.
Polio is a potentially life-threatening disease, which was once one of the most dangerous diseases in the world. In the late 1940s, an average of 35,000 people in America were disabled by polio each year.
The polio vaccine became widely available in 1955. Millions of Americans were vaccinated. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there has not been a single case of polio in the US since 1979. This disease is almost over. Now this disease is present only in some parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Which organ in the body will be affected by polio, it cannot be predicted in advance. In Lillard’s case, he was having trouble breathing. That’s why he has to live with the help of iron lungs for life.
This machine is a huge ventilator about 7 feet long. In this, the polio patient is made to lie down in such a way that his head is outwards. A sealed vacuum is created around the patient’s neck. Depending on the device, it acts as a human diaphragm. Due to this the lungs are filled with air and the patient gets breath.
Today Lillard spends almost all her time alone in this machine. Sometimes she paints, sometimes she watches Hollywood movies. She almost remained in isolation during the Corona period.