Iron Lung

1524 N Lake Shore Dr Chicago

International Museum of Surgical Science
Written By International Museum of Surgical Science

The International Museum of Surgical Science, a division of the International College of Surgeons (ICS), maintains over 10,000 square feet of public galleries committed to the history of surgery, and an exquisite permanent collection of art and artifacts from the history of medicine.

Around the corner from the Hall of Immortals, past the library, sits the iron lung. The iron lung was invented by Philip Drinker in 1928 as a result of polio outbreak, an epidemic that lasted from the 1920's through the 1960's.

Polio most often affected children, and would paralyze its victims to the point of suffocation. In order to breathe, polio sufferers would lie with their body inside the iron lung and their head outside. The iron lung worked by manipulating the air pressure within the chamber, helping the patient’s chest to expand and contract, forcing them to breathe and taking the strain off their muscles. Thanks to the revolutionary polio vaccine, developed by Jonas Salk, the disease has been eradicated in the United States.

International Museum of Surgical Science Highlights

Iron Lung

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