Tennessee woman, 61, dies in iron lung after outage - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Tennessee woman, 61, dies in iron lung after outage

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - A West Tennessee woman who spent nearly 60 years of her life in an iron lung after being diagnosed with polio as a child died tragically Wednesday. Relatives said a power failure shut down the machine that kept her breathing.

Dianne Odell, 61, of the Jackson area had been confined to the 7-foot-long machine since she was 3 years old.

Family members were unable to get an emergency generator working for the iron lung after a power failure knocked out electricity to the Odell family's residence.

Brother-in-law Will Beyer said Odell had gotten a lot weaker over the past several months and just didn't have the strength to keep going.

Emergency crews were called to the scene, but could do little to help.

Odell was cared for by her parents and other family members. Though confined inside the 750-pound apparatus, Odell managed to get a high school diploma, take college courses and write a children's book.


(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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