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The history of the iron lung

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Air date: February 2, 2014

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Medical History
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Interview: John Bach, M.D., faculty, Rutgers University; The State University of New Jersey, where he directs research and clinical affairs in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.



The iron lung was a device used to treat patients who had lost lung function due to polio in the 1950s. The large steel, airtight, cylindrical tank resembled a medieval torture device and was large enough to encapsulate a human body. John Bach, M.D., speaks with “Sound Medicine” about the history of the iron lung and the initial fear that surrounded the machine.

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