June Middleton

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June Margaret Middleton (4 May 1926 – 30 October 2009) was an Australian polio victim who spent more than 60 years living in an iron lung for treatment of the disease.[1] In 2006, Guinness World Records recognised her as the person who had spent the longest amount of time living in an iron lung.[1]

Middleton was born in Melbourne on 4 May 1926, the only daughter of Robert and Lucy Middleton. She contracted polio when she was 22,[1] just months before her planned wedding.[2] She entered the iron lung on 5 April 1949, and remained dependent on the machine for the rest of her life.[1] Middleton spent up to 21 hours a day in the iron lung to help her breathe.[3] Her husband-to-be stayed with her for five years before eventually marrying another woman and starting a family.[4]

Middleton lived at Fairfield Hospital in Melbourne for more than 40 years.[2] She was then transferred to Austin Hospital before moving to her own home in Thornbury, which was managed by the Yooralla Ventilator Accommodation Support Service.

A campaigner for the rights of people confined to ventilators,[2] Middleton was also a fan of the Carlton Football Club.[2]

On 5 April 2009, Middleton marked her 60th year in the iron lung[1] with friends and her dog Angel at her side.

She died in Thornbury on 29 October 2009, aged 83.


  1. ^ a b c d e "June Middleton, in iron lung for 60 years, dies". Australian Associated Press. The Australian. 2009-10-31. Retrieved 2009-11-28.
  2. ^ a b c d Robson, Suzanne (2009-11-04). "Iron lung record woman dies". Preston Leader. Archived from the original on 24 September 2010. Retrieved 2009-11-28.
  3. ^ Whinnett, Ellen (2009-10-31). "Iron lung woman dies". Sunday Herald Sun. Retrieved 2009-11-28.
  4. ^ "Dead after 60 years in iron lung". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2009-11-01. Retrieved 2011-07-01.