People Describe Their Absolute Worst Experiences At A Hospital
Photo by insung yoon on Unsplash

Healthcare shouldn't be this complicated.

You feel sick? Go to the hospital. Have someone take care of you. Add on the complexities of insurance, the lack of good-faith instilled in doctors on hour 40 of their shift, and suddenly you have a stay that turns into a nightmare you can't escape from.

They only get worse from here.

Reddit user, emeraldthemnstr, wanted to hear your healing horror stories when they asked:

What's the worst hospital experience you've ever had?

A visit to the ER shouldn't be like rolling the dice to decide how you're going to be, but sometimes it's like placing your health in the hands of fate.

You Never Know How Your Body Is Going To React

"The day after I graduated from college I began having intense stomach pains that kept me awake for almost three days straight. Went to my doctor and they sent me over the ER to get a CT scan immediately. Found out I had a pretty significant intestinal blockage."

"Anyway my first night in the hospital I was finally able to get kind of comfortable but the nurses were insistent that I take Ambien to sleep. I told them that I hadn't slept in 3 days and that I was going to pass out any minute. Well they kept pushing, and like an idiot, I took the pill. Fast forward to the next morning where I wake up with dried blood all over my arm and I generally hurt all over. It turns out I got really messed up on the Ambien. I stripped naked, ripped out all my IVs, and ran down to the nurse station while babbling nonsense."

"To this day I've never seen my mom as mad as she was when she found out what happened."


One Diagnosis Is Not Like The Other

"I fell over on a night out, not drunk, and hit my head. Only 6 months before I'd had brain surgery for a tumour."

"Scooped up by an ambulance, dumped in A&E, treated like a drunk student. My friends kept telling them that I wasn't drunk, I'd had surgery etc. but they left me in a corridor and ignored me."

"After 3 or 4 hours on a bed in a corridor with no attention, I decided I was fine and checked myself out. It was ridiculous. I felt a bit woozy but recovered fully the next day."

"They should have taken me a bit more seriously, not treated me like a drunk, just because it happened on a Saturday night."


There's nothing worse than telling a doctor what you know for sure in your heart is wrong and they don't listen to you.

Makes You Wonder Who's A Professional And Who Isn't

"I was 16 and I had horrible stomach pains for about a week and just chalked it up to the flu going around school but it didnt go away it continued for another week and I lost about 12 pounds and started throwing up after almost every meal my dad was sufficiently freaked and took me to the ER and the doctor was convinced I was pregnant."

"She kept badgering me about even though I repeatedly said there was absolutely no way I could be pregnant unless I was the second coming of the virgin mary, I was on the verge of tears when she went so far as to tell my dad to leave the room so I could "admit the truth" she finally made me pee in a cup and SURPRISE! no baby."

"Then after just pushing really hard on my stomach and asking me if it hurt she said it must be my kidneys and wanted to start me on meds but warned that if it wasnt actually my kidneys that the medication could cause serious damage."

"It was at this point my usually very calm and reasonable dad completely lost his mind and asked the woman if she had actually gone to med school and pulled me out of there."

"We went to another hospital where I found out I needed an appendectomy immediately. Screw that dumb doctor not every teen girl with stomach pains is pregnant."


It Is What We Thought It Was

"I got a call from my mother that my sister had been taken out of her apartment in an ambulance because she was in so much pain she couldn't walk- I lived about 40 minutes away but I was the closest so I went running."

"She's in crazy pain but they're basically ignoring her. Not appendicitis based on the initial exam, but in that general area. They're giving her the good drugs and asking her constantly if she's on her period or pregnant but do nothing else to actually check on her. Eventually (hours later) we're taken into an exam room (that fully isn't cleaned, they put a puppy pad over some blood on the step up to the chair) and they do an internal sonogram on her and say "Honey you need to pee, there's something in the way" she does and they still say "well something is in the way but it's so big that we know it couldn't be torsion which is what we're worried about- take some drugs and go home it's probably just cramps or a cyst that burst. Nothing to do."

"She goes to her gyno in the morning and is then rushed into surgery at a different (better) hospital. She had a grapefruit sized dermoid on her ovary, that did in fact cause ovarian torsion, and she lost her ovary as a result."


Strap Yourselves In, People

"I was in a car accident, and T-boned by someone going 65 MPH. My hand was caught in-between the collapsing car and the steering wheel."

"When I popped my hand out, I felt the bone break and it hurt like hell."

"Amazingly enough, I had no other injuries. But the EMT's were taking no chances, and thinking I was in shock, they strapped me onto a backboard and hauled me off to the ER. While in the ER, I was asked several times if I was injured anywhere, and I repeatedly said "My hand is broken, it hurts real bad. BTW - this backboard is hurting the hell out of the back of my head, can I get off of it, please? Also, can you please call my mother?" (FYI - I was 19)"

"2 hours later, I was still on the backboard, and I had lost count of how many people had asked me where my injuries were and me repeating "my left hand is broken...." but that was when I was finally taken down to the X-ray dept. There, they X-ray'd every bone in my body..... but my left hand."

"I am wheeled back to the ER, still on that goddamn backboard. By this time, I have a horrendous headache from where my head is resting on that 2x4, and I sit for another couple of hours. During that time I was able to talk a nurse into bringing me a bedpan so I could relieve myself, and that is when the cop came in, opened the curtains so everyone could see me, and give me a ticket."

"Finally, after having been in the ER for 6 hours, I've FINALLY talked someone into calling my mother to come pick me up, the doctor had FINALLY said I could get off of the backboard and when my mom got there (I'm not sure how many traffic laws she broke to get there as fast as she did), he let me know I had no injuries."

"Yes, I do. My hand is broken."

"Young lady, I'm the doctor, I tell you when your hand is broken."

"That was when I grabbed my ring finger on my left hand and pulled it out, and the break became visible through the skin."

"My hand is f-cking broken."

"Mom, being an attorney, just looked at the doctor and said "Does the word 'malpractice' mean anything to you?""

"Back down to the X-ray dept I went, and lo & behold, my damn hand was broken, but the Doctor was all how it was well hidden and that's why they missed it the first time (no, you missed it the first time because NO ONE X-RAY'D IT)."

"A couple of days later when I went to an ortho doctor to get my hand rebroken and the bone set (OWOWOWOWOWOWOWOW) I pulled out the X-ray to take a look to see the break and how "hidden" it really was."

"Goddamn if you couldn't see that break right there in the middle of the bone plain as day."

"It's 20+ years later, the bone never did set correctly, and I'm starting to get arthritis in it. I can tell you when the weather is going to change based on how badly my hand is hurting."


Maybe just sleep it off the next time you're feeling under the weather?

Serious Bad Luck

"I went in to a minor surgery to remove a lip cyst and woke up 8 days later with my right leg amputated above the knee. Bad reaction to anesthesia caused heart failure. I was 23 at the time and 24 now. I’m one of those people with chronic bad luck."


It's Just A Spinal Tap

"More the doctor's office that screwed up than the hospital, but the resulting hospital visit wasn't fun."

"Went to college health center with classic mono symptoms (didn't find out it was mono until 8 months of symptoms later). They had me take a nap, then woke me up suddenly, in a dark room, half an hour after they closed, to inform me that I was being quarantined for meningitis and had to go to the hospital. I didn't want to take a $1000 ambulance ride, but they refused to let me drive myself or have a friend drive, so my options were "either take an ambulance or stay here all night."

"After three hours in the ER, the doc showed up and got all ready with his gloves, mask, etc. since I was "contagious." Then he took one look, ripped the mask off, and said "you look way too healthy to have meningitis, but since they brought it up I have to do a spinal tap anyway." Then he proceeded to stick a needle in my spinal cord while muttering angrily about how foolish of a diagnosis it was."

"tldr - paid a lot of money and got a needle in my spine because college docs insisted i had meningitis instead of mono"


Never forget, if you don't feel safe, just leave. No law saying you have to stay and receive treatment from people who you feel don't have your own interests at heart.

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