Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews Between the Lines

An end to institutions?

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 19 June 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e4235
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

Whenever I feel sorry for myself, which is not infrequently, I try to think of those less fortunate than I am—who, after all, are the great mass of the world’s population. This technique, I am ashamed to say, seldom works; I still feel just as sorry for myself as before.

Nevertheless, I should recommend everyone inclined to the vice of self pity, especially doctors, to read John Vaizey’s Scenes from Institutional Life, a brief memoir of the author’s two years during the war spent in hospital being treated for osteomyelitis of the spine. Vaizey (1929-84) triumphed over the most terrible suffering to become an eminent university professor of economics and member of the House …

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