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    The Life of Albert Schweitzer

    Recent Ebola outbreak brings one to ponder philosophy that emphasizes reverence for human life

    Peter J. McDonnellDr. McDonnell


    As I write this, two Americans who had been flown from Africa to the United States for treatment of active Ebola infection have just been discharged from an Atlanta hospital. The history of physicians from rich countries serving in Africa is a hundred years old. One of the most famous of these physicians was from France.

    More from Dr. McDonnell: McDonnell University

    Kaysersberg is located in the beautiful Alsace region of France. In the days of the Roman Empire, the Romans planted vineyards there and Alsace produced more wine and higher quality wine than any of part of the empire. The old town, nestled amongst rolling hills of vineyards, looks like what Hollywood would create if it needed a film set for a beautiful, ancient village—complete with thirteenth century castles.

    In this town is the home—now a museum—of Dr. Albert Schweitzer. Schweitzer was an interesting person. As a young man, he was a great organist who also studied and published a text on the theory of organ construction. Similarly, he studied and wrote on philosophy.

    Further reading: Eye donation by gay teen that committed suicide rejected

    At the age of 30, he decided that it was time for him to concentrate on helping others, and the best way to do this was to become a doctor and use his healing powers. He had no background in the biological sciences or medicine at all, and his family and friends were not supportive of this decision.


    NEXT: Understanding Schweitzer

    Peter J. McDonnell, MD
    He is director of The Wilmer Eye Institute, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, and chief medical editor of ...

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