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June 5, 1967

Lambarene Without Schweitzer

Author Affiliations

From the Cowell Memorial Hospital, University of California, Berkeley.

JAMA. 1967;200(10):830-832. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120230082010

The terminal illness of Albert Schweitzer was caused primarily by cerebral vascular insufficiency which manifested itself quite abruptly on August 28, 1965 with impairment of consciousness and of cerebral regulation of cardiac and respiratory function. During the preceding week he had seemed more fatigued than usual, with some unsteadiness on his feet.

On the evening of August 29, because in his semi-comatose condition he was unable to take sufficient fluid by mouth, he was given an intravenous infusion of physiologically-balanced electrolyte solution, slowly through the night.

For the most part thereafter he remained semi-comatose and bed-ridden, with transient periods of increased reactivity. Until September 3, he was able to take clear fluids, including beer (which he had asked for) in small amounts by mouth. His blood pressure was well maintained until nearly the end, and an electrocardiogram on 2 September revealed no evidence of myocardial infarction.

On 3 September, his