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Gac Med Mex. 2007 Mar-Apr;143(2):173-81.

[Albert Schweitzer. The man as a symbol].

[Article in Spanish]

Author information

Sociedad Venezolana de Historia de la Medicina e Instituto Latinoamericano de Bioética y Derechos Humanos (ILABID), Hospital Universitario de Los Andes, Mérida, Venezuela.


Albert Schweitzer, the great missionary physician from the XXth century, had a versatile personality that integrated multiple talents, leading to the slightly frequent conjunction of the thinker with the man of action, and the humanist with the scientist and the artist. He studied all these disciplines in a brilliant manner: Philosophy, Theology, Music and Medicine; he was also a great scholar of Bach's work, Jesus Christ and the civilization history. In his maturity, this great man renounced to the fame and glory gained as intellectual and musician, to dedicate his life as a physician for the forgotten African natives. His deeply religious spirit allowed him to penetrate into the most recondite of the human soul; in his personality, he expressed in its entire dimension the eternally unsatisfied desire of the solitary man, against the immensity of the universe. His philosophy, based on the respect for life, was realized throughout the practice of the medical profession. His noble character and personality was based on the man as symbol, since it was not so much what he did helping people but what people could do to others due to him. His singular example represented a moral force in the world, superior to millions of men armed for a war. In 1953, he received the Nobel Peace Prize for his philanthropic work in Africa during more that fifty years, and for his deep love to the living beings. He was transformed in a perennial legend as the Lambaréné doctor.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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