Complaint to the American Medical Association

McGinley, Phyllis

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Woodcock, John
  • Date of entry: Jan-19-2004


The author, a writer and patient, humorously complains to the AMA, in mock-heroic rhymed verse, that doctors are practicing writing without a license. (It seems this would not be such a problem if doctors were not writing on top of all the medical miracles they perform--and if their books were not so popular!)


This is a delightful piece of occasional verse that makes a humorous mountain out of a molehill of professional jealousy--as in the following lines: "The pen (so springs the constant hope / Of all devout physicians) / Is mightier than the stethoscope / And runs to more editions."

Taken seriously, the poem indirectly points to something that is even more obvious today than when it was written: the stories of life and death, sickness and healing, that doctors face every day are of great interest to large numbers of non-medical readers.


Times Three, the collection in which this poem appeared, won the Pulitzer Prize.

Primary Source

Times Three



Place Published

New York