Dr Forrest M. Bird, a World War II veteran and inventor of respiratory medical devices, died on Sunday, Aug 2 at the age of 94 in his home in Sagle, Idaho, according to the New York Times.

In the 1950s and ’60s, Dr Bird pioneered some of the first portable and reliable mechanical ventilators for people with acute and chronic heart and lung afflictions. These relatively small devices, used in all but the worst cases, made primitive and expensive mechanisms like the iron lung virtually obsolete only a decade after hospital wards had been lined with them at the height of paralytic polio epidemics.

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