Is Paul Richard Alexander Still Alive? Where is Paul Alexander Now?

Who is Paul Richard Alexander?

paul richard alexander

In the annals of medical history, the name of Paul Richard Alexander shines bright. Not because he is a renowned doctor, researcher, or scientist, but because he is perhaps one of the most inspirational figures, living a life that is as extraordinary as it is challenging. Born in Texas, Alexander was a polio survivor who has spent over six decades living inside an iron lung.

The Early Life and Encounter with Polio

Is Paul Richard Alexander Still Alive

Born in 1946, Paul Richard Alexander led a normal life until at the age of six, he contracted polio during the epidemic that swept across the world in the mid-20th century. This deadly disease attacks the nervous system, causing paralysis, and in Alexander’s case, it left him paralyzed from the neck down. Consequently, he was confined to an iron lung, a large, barrel-shaped mechanical respirator that helped him breathe by creating and releasing pressure around his chest.

The Mechanics of an Iron Lung

Is Paul Richard Alexander Still Alive
This photograph shows an opened artificial respirator commonly known as the iron lung. Polio patients of the 1950s depended on these devices to breath after being paralyzed with this devastating virus.

The iron lung Alexander lives in utilizes a method known as negative pressure ventilation. It alternates between a low and high pressure. When the pressure inside the iron lung is reduced, it causes the chest cavity to expand, simulating an inhale. When the pressure is increased, the chest cavity contracts, forcing an exhale.

The Impact on His Life and How He Adapted

While the iron lung was essentially a lifesaver for Alexander, it also drastically altered his life. However, showing an immense spirit of resilience and adaptation, Alexander not only learned to live in the iron lung but also carried out his daily tasks and intellectual pursuits from within it.

Daily Life inside an Iron Lung

For Alexander, living in an iron lung means a unique and specialized daily routine. A voice-activated system enables him to interact with the world outside his iron lung. It allows him to write, make phone calls, control the lighting and temperature in his room, and even operate his computer. He manages his daily needs with the help of caregivers, who assist him with his personal care and meal preparation.

Intellectual Pursuits

Despite his physical limitations, Alexander’s intellect remained untouched. In fact, he used it to his advantage, proving that physical constraints could not limit his mind. He completed high school via a specially adapted intercom system, graduated from the University of Texas, and went on to receive a law degree from Southern Methodist University. Today, he stands as perhaps the only practicing lawyer living inside an iron lung.

Advocacy and Writing Career

Paul Richard Alexander uses his unique life circumstances as a platform for advocacy. He is a vocal advocate for polio vaccination and has dedicated his life to raising awareness about the disease. Additionally, he is an author, having penned a memoir titled ‘Three Minutes for a Dog’, giving readers an intimate look at his life inside the iron lung.

Is Paul Richard Alexander Still Alive?

No, he is no more wit us on Planet Earth. On 13th March 2024, Paul Richard Alexander passed away according to a statement released by his brother Philip Alexander on Facebook.

The post reads,

With a heavy heart I need to say my brother passed last night. It was an honor to be part of someone’s life who was as admired as he was. He touched and inspired millions of people and that is no exaggeration. If You Tube him, you will see videos made of him in every continent. Friends would tell me all the time how they encountered other people who just brought Paul up in a conversation. It personally happened to me at a restaurant on the Amazon river from 2 guys who happened to be visiting from Argentina. Just brought him up when they heard I was from Texas.

To me Paul was just a brother..same as yours..loving, giving advice, and scolding when necessary, and also a pain in the ass..normal brother stuff. He commanded a room..What a flirt! He loved good food, wine, women, long conversations, learning, , and laughing. I will miss him so much. RiP

Services are Wednesday March 20th at 2 Grove Hill Funeral Home Dallas

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Is Paul Richard Alexander Still Alive

Legacy and Impact

Alexander’s story stands as a powerful narrative in the global fight against polio. His relentless advocacy for polio vaccination and his impactful life story contribute significantly to global polio eradication efforts. His journey also serves as a beacon of hope and resilience for people living with disabilities, illustrating that physical constraints do not limit an individual’s potential or the richness of life.


Paul Richard Alexander, the man who lived in an iron lung, represents a potent symbol of resilience, determination, and intellectual prowess. His story transcends the ordinary, offering a deep and impactful understanding of human strength and adaptability in the face of adversity. His life, far from ordinary, serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of health initiatives like vaccination and the infinite potential of the human spirit.


Is Paul Richard Alexander still alive?

No, on 13th March 2024, Paul Richard Alexander passed away according to a statement released by his brother Philip Alexander on Facebook.

Where is Paul Richard Alexander now?

Paul Richard Alexander is no more. He spent his last days at his home in Texas, where he worked as a lawyer and author.

How has Paul Richard Alexander managed to pursue higher education and a career while living in an iron lung?

Through sheer determination and adaptability, Paul has successfully navigated higher education and a career in law. He utilizes specially adapted equipment and technology to read, write, and communicate with the outside world.

What has Paul Richard Alexander done for polio awareness and vaccination?

Paul uses his life story to advocate for polio vaccination. He has written extensively about his experiences and often speaks out about the importance of vaccines in preventing diseases like polio.

How does an iron lung work?

An iron lung is a mechanical respirator which operates by creating a vacuum to draw air into the lungs, then releasing the vacuum to expel the air. It essentially breathes for the person using it, and has been vital for Paul’s survival since he contracted polio.

Archit Vats

Archit Vats is a multifaceted content creator and author at Digital Indian. With a thriving YouTube channel boasting 340k subscribers, Archit shares insightful and informative videos about India and the world. His passion for knowledge and dedication to educating others is evident in his engaging content. As an author at Digital Indian, Archit continues to contribute valuable insights and perspectives, enriching the platform with his expertise. Whether it's tech, culture, or global trends, Archit's work is a valuable resource for anyone looking to stay informed and inspired.

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