July 2013

History in Hiding

An iron lung being lifted out of the abandoned state mental hospital in Lakeville, MA

In the summer of 2013, Boston Children's Hospital regained a vital piece of its history, the Iron Lung, after a decades-long search. Invented at Boston Children's in 1928, iron lungs were used to care for polio patients of all ages whose symptoms made it difficult or impossible for them to breathe independently. But in the 1980s, iron were replaced with newer technology and Boston Children's, to make room for other medical devices discarded its supply. Then, in 2013, five intact iron lungs were found in one of the least likely places: an abandoned mental hospital.