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July 5, 1971

Lament for a Friend

JAMA. 1971;217(1):69-70. doi:10.1001/jama.1971.03190010051011

An earlier editorial1 identified Charles M. Schulz and Ogden Nash as friends of the medical profession. Now we have lost a friend. On May 19, 1971, aged 68, Ogden Nash died at Johns Hopkins Hospital after a harrowing illness lasting more than a month—pneumonia, renal failure, stroke, heart failure. Earlier he had undergone abdominal surgery at another hospital.

From a warmly recommended book,2 the other editorial reprinted a poem, "Cousin Euphemia Knows Best or, Physician, Heal Somebody Else," in which Nash told why he didn't want to be a doctor "... simply because somewhere in the family of every patient is a female who has read an article." The same book contains another poem, "I Yield to My Learned Brother or, Is There a Candlestick Maker in the House?" in which Nash, never the consistent one, tells the opposite. Three verses suffice to make the point.

The doctor gets