Ms. Mason died on Monday at her home in Lattimore, N.C. She was 71 and had lived for more than 60 years in an iron lung.

Paralyzed from the neck down as a result of childhood polio, Ms. Mason was one of the last handful of Americans, perhaps 30 people, who live full time in iron lungs. There is no documented case of any American’s having done so for quite as long as she.

From her horizontal world — a 7-foot-long, 800-pound iron cylinder that encased all but her head — Ms. Mason lived a life that was by her own account fine and full, reading voraciously, graduating with highest honors from high school and college, entertaining and eventually writing.

She chose to remain in an iron lung, she often said, for the freedom it gave her. It let her breathe without tubes in her throat, incisions or hospital stays, as newer, smaller ventilators might require. It took no professional training to operate, letting her remain mistress of her own house, with just two aides assisting her.

Ms. Mason is the subject of a documentary film, “Martha in Lattimore ,” released in 2005 and directed by Ms. Dalton. She also appeared in “The Final Inch,” a documentary about polio that was nominated for a Academy Award this year.

Martha Ann Mason was born on May 31, 1937, and reared in Lattimore, a small town about 50 miles west of Charlotte. In September 1948, when she was 11, Martha went to bed one night feeling achy. She did not tell her parents because she did not want to compound their sorrow: that day, they had buried her 13-year-old brother, Gaston, who had died of polio a few days before.

Full article


Category: , | edit post
Reactions: 
2 Responses
  1. Anney Says:

    She was living in an iron lung yet she has accomplished great things and still be happy.Very inspirational story!


  2. Jane Dy Says:

    wow. that is an amazing life indeed. i could not =)


Funny cartoon of the day

Funny cartoon of the day