Albert Schweitzer - The purpose of human life is to serve...

Schweitzer created a hospital village as well as a leper village. By the mid-1960’s more than 100,000 patients had been treated since its founding in 1913. In the 1960’s it was housing 500 patients and their relatives at a time. Before this, people had to depend on fetishes and superstitions.

When new patients arrived, they received a thorough physical examination. If they needed surgery, it was often postponed for several weeks while they were treated for problems like anemia, malaria, or malnutrition.

If transfusions were necessary, members of the patient’s family gave blood, though it was hard to overcome their fear of doing so. Patients could be kept for several weeks after surgery to recover, since follow-up would be necessary and their home village might not provide adequate nutrition.

Approximately 1000 operations were performed each year. There were two modern operating tables and lamps. Anesthesia was usually given by spinal injection. When Dr. Schweitzer could no longer trust his hands and his eye sight after his 70th birthday, young doctors took over doing the operations.

Think what it must have been like for these Gabonese people to have a place like this to come to when they were sick! They had nowhere else to go for such care and must have been incredibly grateful to be so well taken care of. Think of how many lives must have been saved by Dr. Schweitzer and doctors that came to work with him. He had decided that what God most wanted him to do was to serve mankind…and he followed through. Nothing stopped him.

We—especially we city dwellers—tend to take for granted the medical care so readily available to us. We tend to take well educated medical personnel for granted. Do we ever think of those living in primitive conditions who do not have doctors and hospitals available to them?

Albert Schweitzer did.

This has been Part 37 of A Life Worth Living. Read Part 38 – Reverence for Life.