Wiping Out Polio: How The U.S. Snuffed Out A Killer

News & Features Jason Beaubien · ·
Many polio victims couldn't breathe on their own because of paralysis in their chest muscles. The iron lung — a simple, air-tight chamber that regulates air pressure — kept patients breathing until the paralysis passed. At the peak of the epidemic, rows of iron lung ventilators filled hospital rooms.