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Why I Hate Hospitals

Updated on September 13, 2011

I know of someone who has a hospital phobia. He or she (I leave it anonymous) won't darken the door of one except for an extreme necessity, and then only under protest.

While not particularly afraid of them, I myself find them rather unpleasant. I think maybe they are deliberately made unpleasant in an effort to make you want to get well. You will hate staying there so much that you will recover in a hurry!

Open Doors and No Privacy

First complaint: they leave the door to your room open.  Yeah, I know I know, they want to maintain security.  Blah blah.  But from the patient's perspective, this is a bummer.  You have nothing, and I mean NOTHING to do but sit and wait for a medical professional to come and give you medicines, x-rays, or some other sort of treatment, so you sit.  Bored.  You have nothing to read, nothing to write, nothing to draw or color, no puzzles, no video games, and they sometimes want your cellphone off.  It's like a great white prison.  So you wait, and wait, and wait.  And instead of trusting that you have enough privacy to rest and relax, you must stay on your guard continually so you can meet and greet whoever is supposed to be returning to tell you the verdict on the tests or imaging.  In addition to this, some hospitals put two patients in every room, separated (if you're lucky) by a curtain.  On one recent visit for an unexpected injury I found that they have no problem putting a male patient and a female patient in the same room together, even though said patients were in a state of reduced garments.  Even though I was injured, I hobbled enough to reach what I wanted and got dressed again, using the gown for a blanket to dress under.  I had asked the last nurse who left to close the curtain, and she was preoccupied and either didn't hear me or didn't want to hear me.  So, left to my own devices, I figured out a way to maintain common modesty, and I kept my eyes away from the poor heart patient in the opposite corner as an added courtesy, since he wore nothing but a short gown himself (which did not nearly cover his immense frame, I might add).  I could hear them discussing his entire medical history and symptoms.  I do not think this gave him very much privacy.  What if I had been someone he knew?  Or a newspaper reporter?  Or a Hub Pages writer?  Hmm.

Second Complaint: Forgetful Doctors

Why are you asked for a list of allergies if they are going to offer you things on your list? Someone I know had this happen to her. She gave an entire list of her food allergies to the staff, only to be offered a plate full of things she couldn't eat when it was supper time. In fact, there was nothing on the plate she could eat. If it had not been for an observant nurse, she would have gone hungry, but the nurse realized that she wasn't eating and quickly took it away and gave her something edible.

Then they will ask what medications you can and can't have. After I was getting ready to leave, the doctor's assistant came in with a message for me: rest for such and such days, and you may take X medicine for pain. Well, that's nice. X medicine is one I told them I can't have. Instead of saying anything, I mentally wrote them off as stupid (yes, I know that's not a nice word) and vowed silently to take what I really wanted when I got home. Which I did. And I don't know how many times a doctor has recommended that pain reliever when it's right on my chart that I react severely to it. Medical professionals are paid to pay attention, but they don't. You have to be your own best doctor. You have to know what you need, what you can and can't have, and not let them tell you what to do. Certainly don't let them get away with being inattentive. You don't always have to raise a fuss to get what you want. Sometimes it's better to hold your tongue and just ignore their instructions on occasions when they are clearly incorrect.

Complaint Three: Careless Staff

When you don't feel well anyway, you are not in the best of moods, nor do you wish to put up with unseemly behavior out of the persons who should be observing the height of propriety.  One late night I visited the E.R. with dehydration from an infection, and I admit I was one very crabby person, albeit I held my tongue and didn't say anything.

Walking down the hallway, I was met with LOUD laughter from a young woman who was standing around in a nearby room with a couple of interns.  She was telling them a dirty joke (no, I'm not going to repeat it).  Now, I am a firm believer in freedom of speech, but where is the freedom for my ears not to hear such stuff, especially when I am already in a bad mood from being ill?  Can she not keep her off color material to herself and save it for her time off?  I didn't say anything, however.

Complaint Four: Never Complain

There is an unwritten rule in hospitals that I was introduced to when I was a teen.  I went to visit an aging friend who was very ill.  While there I noticed an air bubble in his IV.  I told my folks, who started to tell a nurse, but my friend stopped them and vehemently insisted that it was fine and not to make trouble.

"No," he said.  "They've been real gentle with me."

I wondered for a while what he meant by that.  I now know.  The unwritten rule is that you will be abused if you complain.  That is, they will make sure that things that shouldn't hurt do hurt, or that things that hurt a little end up hurting a lot.  It is a similar principle to the restaurant rule: complain, and they will spit in your pizza.  It's wrong, but it happens.  I found out first hand.  It wasn't a hospital, but the principle was the same...

My upper lip was hugely swollen, black and blue and bleeding.  My mom asked me what happened.  I explained that the orthodontist's assistant had accidentally caught my lip in the wire tie tool and had twisted it.  I looked like I'd been in a fight, honestly.  So when it was time for me to get another adjustment to my braces, she said to my dad, "Tell them to be more careful with her.  Last time they hurt her.  And stay back there with her."

He did the first part.  He forgot to do the second part.  And when he left, they got revenge on me for complaining.

First, the assistant (the one who did the damage to begin with) said, "Dr. Ortho, we hurt her last time."  He looked at her with a puzzled expression, and then they both nodded knowingly.  They both grabbed my mouth and pulled it open so wide that I don't know how it didn't tear.  And they kept it there the whole time they made adjustments, making comments to one another like, "Be careful, don't hurt her.  We don't want to hurt her.  Keep that mouth open so we don't touch it with the tools."

So be warned: there is an unwritten rule about complaining.  If you have a complaint, do it from a safe distance, or be sure you have evidence so you can prove what they did.  In this day of cellphone cameras, that may be becoming easier to do. An emailed photo of what someone is doing wrong, sent to the right person, and you might actually make a difference.


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    • Silver Poet profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Poet 

      5 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer


      That must have been frustrating. I hope you can avoid that situation in the future. Good luck!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      My father was in a hospital in Toronto for a whole month. It was horrible. All you could smell was either disinfectant when you walked down the hall or the smell of poop. Gross!!! They wouldn't even allow the windows in the room to be open for long as they said it was temperature controlled. It was summer time so why not let some fresh air in. Argh!!!!

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      You've laid it out well here. Your take on an in-patient hospital stay is so true. Once was in there for a week and all I could do because of the pain was squeeze the morphine button and watch old movies. I was supposed to be walked every day beginning on the 2nd day. The nurses didn't get around to it till the 3rd and then only because the surgeon jumped their case. One nurse was so insistent on washing me she practically pushed a partner out of the way when I'd told her I preferred to do it. She had one of those lusty looks in her eye. Another one was the only good experience as she would spend hours late at night talking with me on a lot of interesting things. I hate hospitals too. Btw Silver Poet, when I said you like masquerades it was meant as a compliment on your avatar.~:) Vote up!

    • Anna Marie Bowman profile image

      Anna Marie Bowman 

      7 years ago from Florida

      This is an excellent Hub on the truth about hospitals. I am currently writing something similar to this and would love to include a link to it in my Hub!! I hope you don't mind!

    • Silver Poet profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Poet 

      7 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer

      Thank you, Kenneth. I empathize with your discomfort in the hospital environment. Thanks for sharing your story.

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 

      7 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Silver Poet, Right On! Bravo for this hub! I spent a week in a local hospital back in 2003 with a ruptured nailed what I didn't like while in a stranger's care. But I assume most of the responsibility for not liking hospitals. As a boy, I saw my mom in and out of hospitals and it "did" something to me that I have never conquered. Thanks for sharing.

    • Silver Poet profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Poet 

      7 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer

      Stomp back in any time, Polly. The door is always open. :)

    • Pollyannalana profile image


      7 years ago from US

      My dad was in the hospital years ago for something minor and they called my mom one morning and said he had a stroke and she didn't drive, knew she had to round up someone to get her there so she asked them to tell her about it and they said well they found him in his room on the floor...but he was resting comfortably! That was only the beginning. Sorry to be stomping back in again, just something close to my heart and who would dream of such things until it happens to you.

    • Silver Poet profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Poet 

      7 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer

      Moonlake: I believe you.

      WannaB: I'm glad you have good hospitals. I'm sure good ones exist.

    • WannaB Writer profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 

      7 years ago from Templeton, CA

      What I'm reading here is hard to believe. People make mistakes in our hospitals, but I've never seen deliberate cruelty. And I have spent hours in our local hospital and emergency room, as both patient and care manager for my mom, who once had a 21 day visit. I did not like everything I saw, but it was mostly because of laws and hospital policies to prevent lawsuits. I should thank God for the hospitals we have here, I guess, even though I would prefer to stay out of them.

    • moonlake profile image


      7 years ago from America

      You are so right about hospitals. I was once in the hospital very sick and could barely make it to my next medication when the nurses would come in at least an hour late, it was heart meds. When I told the doctor he said "I will take care of that." After my complaint they woke me up at night by yelling at me.

      A woman once threw a machine at the top of our sons head because she got mad at him. He was in the hospital for a brain injury. They also tried to take him for surgery when he wasn't having surgery. My husband had to hold onto the bed to keep them from taking it can you believe they didn't believe us. They also gave him a med he should have never had it almost killed him.

      I have no love for hospitals, nurses or doctors.

      If you have a loved one in the hospital stay with them so you can keep them alive.

      Good Hub.

    • Silver Poet profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Poet 

      7 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer


      Thanks for stopping by! The more we experience, the more we learn. I feel more sorry for the ignorant orthodontist and assistant than I do for myself. If they ever met God and He set them straight on the issue, I think they'd have their feet in their own mouths, so to speak.

    • stars439 profile image


      7 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      Great hub, and that was terrible what they did to you at the orthodontist's office. It is a terrible shame what good people have to put up with. God Bless You.

    • Silver Poet profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Poet 

      7 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer


      My condolences concerning the loss of your friend. I am glad to hear about the peace and the fulfilled wish. It helps to have a concerned and watchful friend when one must visit such places.

    • C-Bless profile image


      7 years ago from Canada

      One of my neighbour/friends died today (no tears or deep sorrow as it was peaceful and she got her last wish before she closed her eyes forever). She insisted I come with her to the hospital on her last few visits -- you're not kidding Silver Poet. Thank you for sharing...

    • Silver Poet profile imageAUTHOR

      Silver Poet 

      7 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer

      Writer: Thanks for stopping by. I think we all agree with you about not liking to be ill!

      Betty: I hope I helped. I don't want to scare, but to inform.

      Pollyanna: I'm sorry about your mom. Respect for the elderly seems to be sliding downhill in today's culture, which is regrettable.

    • Pollyannalana profile image


      7 years ago from US

      I happen to know you aren't kidding and went through years of it with me and my mom and they actually killed my mom. They kill many old people, they can get by with it and after awhile it's time to get rid of that one and get on to the next, especially if someone is giving them trouble.

    • Betty Johansen profile image

      Betty Johansen 

      7 years ago

      Whew! Thanks for the warnings. I'll be careful.

    • WriterDJ profile image


      7 years ago

      I hate hospital too, but not a phobia. It just because hate always be sick


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