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Polio survivor shares his success story as one of 10 people in the world in iron lung

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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
8/17/2015 (4 years ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

Paralyzed at the age of six, Paul Alexander went on to become practicing lawyer

Now in his late sixties, Paul Alexander was paralyzed with polio at six years of age. Now a practicing lawyer, Alexander is one of 10 people known in the world to still be confined to an iron lung. His story of survival is encouraging to anyone beset with difficulty.

Polio survivor Paul Alexander says that he wishes others in Dallas and around the world would show more compassion, as those he has encountered.

Polio survivor Paul Alexander says that he wishes others in Dallas and around the world would show more compassion, as those he has encountered.

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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
8/17/2015 (4 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Paul Alexander, polio, Rotarians, iron lung, north Texas


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "The early part was very, very scary, but I'm an Alexander," he said. "My parents taught me to have a lot of pride and self-respect, and God taught me to believe I could do anything I dreamed of - and I did. So instead of letting Polio break me or kill me, I fought it hard. The more it would knock me down, the angrier I would get. That anger, I've often said, is what kept me alive."

Checked into a Dallas hospital in 1952 after polio began to circulate throughout his young body, Alexander was prematurely pronounced dead.


Now confined to a 1,200-pound iron lung, Alexander says he owes his existence to the grace of the Waxahachie Rotary Club. The Rotarians recently built a ramp to transport him to and from the hospital more easily.

Alexander would later finish three different college degrees, including one to become a practicing lawyer, his current occupation.

Alexander would stay in the hospital for nearly 18 months before he was released with his iron lung. Alexander's parents would take care of him until 1971, when he decided to go to college.

"His parents transported him and his iron lung to the University of Texas in Austin. Before he left Dallas to move, he hired another student to meet him and take care of him," according to the Washington Times.

There was another challenge for Alexander in store. The place was empty when he arrived. This would be the first time he would be on his own.


For three days, nobody knew Alexander was in the dorm, and he was left without food, water, or bathroom necessities.

"I was just lying there, and it was hard," Alexander said. "I had gone from mom's best cooking in the world, and being taken care of perfectly, to zero."

Two men later found Alexander, and said they would take care of him for the two weeks prior to school on one condition - he would instruct them on his care. When the two weeks were nearly up, they helped post flyers around campus to find Alexander qualified help.

A young girl, who happened to be a registered nurse, said she was there to take care of him. God had sent her, she said.

Alexander earned three degrees, and almost finishing a few others. Representing clients in a courtroom, Alexander has been able to find people to "hand pump a generator to keep him alive when the weather cuts the power to his house," according to the Washington Times. He has written a book, and he remains perpetually amazed by the people who have come to his assistance.  

Alexander says that he wishes others in Dallas and around the world would show more compassion, as those he has encountered.

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