An end to institutions?

In a June article in the British Medical Journal (subscription required), Dalrymple lauds (up to a point) former member of the House of Lords John Vaizey for his triumph over terrible suffering:

He was 14 when he felt acute pain in his spine and fell very ill. He was taken to a hospital that he does not name, where for a long time he was expected to die, and would gladly have done so. Indeed, he was put in a side ward where he might die out of sight of the other patients. The hospital ward was terrible:
An old Greek gentleman would come down the ward to speak to me. He told me that my screams [of pain] had terrorized them all. Then he died. Another old gentleman fought to get out of bed every night. They boarded him in. One night he threw himself out and when they picked him up he was dead. One night the man opposite me, who was not allowed to drink because he had a perforated duodenal ulcer, drank his mouthwash and died with a gurgle, after a bout of prolonged screaming.
Alas, Vaizey’s entirely understandable revulsion against the way in which he was treated in hospital drove him to an absurd utopianism, according to which we had no need of institutions. He was like a man who goes to a library and, finding it does not have the book he wants, concludes that libraries are not needed. To say that “institutions give inadequate people what they want—power” is at best a very partial truth (surely everyone will recognise that it is sometimes true, perhaps increasingly so).
Suffering, then, can overcome reason many years after it occurred, even in the most intelligent.

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