The Iron Lung
- Time Period: 1670 to 1950s
To be fair to some old medical treatments, they were victims to the time they took place. Technology in the medical world did not exactly get to a supremely advanced state until the 1980s truthfully. However, tech still existed to help people who suffered through difficult illnesses. One of those treatments was the infamous “iron lung.” Before the polio vaccine was invented in the 1950s by Jonas Salk, it was an epidemic that killed thousands. Over 50,000 were infected in America alone.
Polio caused a lot of problems, but one of the most notable and severe was its effect on human lungs. One of the most effective ways to save someone’s life was to put someone inside a large, coffin-like machine. The iron lung assisted people by helping them breathe when their chest muscles were often paralyzed due to polio. Of course, some were put into them for just having trouble breathing. Thus, some spent a few weeks in them while others could spend years. The device was used for centuries before this, but the polio epidemic led to its most notable use.