Most people who spend time in hospitals as patients would say those buildings are not their favorite places.

You’re alone a lot of the time, you’re scared, you’re in pain, you’re dying to go home, you don’t know what’s happening – take your pick, because there are dozens of reasons not to be a fan.

These  people had experiences that go beyond the typical discomfort, though, and what they went through might scare you into avoiding hospitals even more than you already do.

1. I don’t like stories of kids in the hospital!

My first memory, (it’s pretty vague) is from when I was four. I got appendicitis and needed intimidate surgery as my appendix was about an hour away from bursting. I didn’t understand all of this at the time, but from the perspective of four year old me I was even more terrified then I would have been if I did understand.

I remember my mom taking me to the ER, luckily it was fairly empty and we saw the doctor in about 30 minutes. The doctors said nothing was wrong and I probably had food poisoning. My mom told them to do a scan and they finally agreed. The scan was terrifying, and because I was so scared and wouldn’t stop moving I had to be strapped down which of course made it worse.

By the time the scan was done my grandparents and brother had arrived and were in the waiting room. From then I just remember them putting me on one of those bed things and rushing me to the operating room. We passed my family on the way and I could see my grandfather crying which I had never seen before, (and haven’t since) and so I knew this was bad. My mom was able to fallow me to the door of the operating room. For probably ten seconds after she let go of my hand I was reaching out to her screaming for help and we were both crying. Then one of the doctors put her hand on my shoulder and gently lied me down and I fell asleep.

I don’t remember anything after that, but it’s still one of my worst memories to date.

2. Not the best memory.

It wasn’t terrifying but the most awful thing I’ve ever felt.

I had a drain put in after having my gallbladder removed and the next day the nurse came in to take it.

That things was in there about 6/7 inches, right up into my stomach and she just slowly pulled it out.

Oh a still shudder thinking about it.

3. Oh my god.

When I was about 12 I was in the ER for some dumb little ingrown nail removal or something and we were waiting for the doctor a really long time.

While we were waiting there were these, like, anguished screams coming from some other part of the building, it lasted a long time and I remember my mom suggesting it might’ve been someone on drugs.

The removal happened and we were walking down the hallway to be released and I saw the mom and brother of one of my good friends in middle school; they seemed really upset so we walked up and asked if they were ok.

Turns out those anguished screams we had been hearing were from my friend who had accidentally fallen into a campfire while chasing his younger sister around. He lived but he had to have skin grafts over a huge portion of his body. It was awful.

4. Anything that messes with our brains is scary.

I had hepatic encephalopathy. Which means I was basically insane due to ammonia buildup in my brain. I couldn’t make coherent sentences. I didn’t know who I was or my wife was. I did compliment her by saying she was a hot nurse, though.

Surprisingly, that’s not the worst part. The most terrifying part happened as I started to get some of my memory back. I kept thinking I was saying I had 5 kids (which is true) but my mouth was saying I had 6 kids. To which my wife was responding, “no you have 5 kids” and my brain heard “no you have 4 kids”.

So for about an hour I was panicking because I thought one of my kids didn’t exist or ceased to exist or something. I wasn’t exactly rational. But it was terrifying and as I continued to get better I would make sure we had the right number of kids, would repeat their names and their birthdays.

5. She should have said thank you.

I’ve been through a lot as a patient; there’s more than a few comments here I can relate to. Honestly the most scary thing that ever happened to me in a hospital was a nurse bringing me medication in a cup and plunking it down demanding I take it. It’s your Flagyl, she told me. I don’t take that, I responded.

She was instantly annoyed: if your doctor ordered it, he wants you to take it. I asked what condition it was prescribed for. She insisted I had to take it RIGHT NOW. I told her I wasn’t taking it without knowing the reason it was prescribed, and I would be happy to wait until she was able to look that up for me in my chart.

She made a huge show of being furious that she had to do this, looked up my record on the computer in my room, said not a single word and snatched it back off my tray table before stomping out in a huff.

6. A different sort of scary.

Not really “terrifying” but it could have been bad, but a few years ago I had to go into the hospital because I injured my hand. I thought it was broke (thankfully it wasn’t), but I was there for several hours. What was terrifying about it was the hospital was completely packed, in fact I couldn’t even get a room or office.

I was treated in the hallway, and as I was waiting (they put chairs out there for all of us “extras”), I saw some of the local EMT’s hanging out. I got to chatting with some of them, and I found out they were stuck there too. I asked why. It was because the hospital was so full they ran out of beds and they needed the gurneys, and they couldn’t leave until they got one back. I asked them what would happen if there was an emergency and they needed to transport a patient now?

They hung their heads, just replying, “let’s not hope it comes to that” because they had no gurney for them.

Worse comes to worse they’d have to call another city to see if they had some, which would increase their wait time for pickup.

The horror of seeing the budget cuts and the overcrowding situation in the hospital was sad, and frightening. I was glad for my own sake that I was able to get out (relatively) quickly (well, at least outpatient) and didn’t have to stay there overnight on a chair or gurney at the possible expense of someone else possibly not getting the chance to be transported because they couldn’t. That was scary to think about, apparently it happens a lot in my area.

7. This broke my heart.

I was in the ER for mental health stuff. (psych ward full, aussies can relate) at about 2am an older man was brought in with cops in tow, who had apparently just escaped being r**ed for TWELVE HOURS by his supposed close friend.

I didn’t mean to eavesdrop on this obviously very sensitive conversation, but he was (understandably) wailing loudly; bellowing in pain and emotional anguish in an otherwise pretty quiet hospital, and was in the bed directly across from me. From what I heard his rapist and a couple of other people just kicked down his door while he was chilling at home.

I didn’t get many other details, nor would I want to, but I always wonder about the motive a “friend” could have to do such a thing. It’s crossed my mind that it was a h**e crime after finding out (the victim) was a drag queen. drag was mentioned because the poor fellow had his make up on still, mascara running black rivers down his scrunched, red face. It was probably the most depressing thing I have ever witnessed personally.

8. I hope this person is ok now.

I spent some time in a psych ward as a kid. It was a bad place and pretty a**sive. One of the staff members broke another kids arm and I remember hearing the boy screaming as it happened and afterwards.

It was scary especially because we had no agency between being kids and psych patients so the staff had total control.

9. I’m going with both are scary.

In the ER and was given an IV push for pain and left alone in a treatment room. I had a bad reaction to the medication (found out later, I can’t have any form of opiates, real or synthetic, as I have a bad reaction.) In short, I tripped my f**king A** off, while bleeding heavily, and whatever they gave me seriously slowed my HR and my BP tanked.

I’m not sure what was more terrifying: being fully conscious and aware in a body that is slowly shutting down, or being convinced there’s a 7 foot tall shadow demon standing at the foot of your bed to take you to Hell when it’s over.

10. Horrible beyond words.

Hearing the Dr say, “there is nothing we can do to save her.” And then looking over and seeing tears coming out of my Mom’s eyes. She was intubated.

Knowing she could hear everything but couldn’t respond to us is something I still struggle with. S**t, her d**th is something I still struggle with.

I love her and wish she didn’t have to go the way she did.

May not be “scary” but knowing I would no longer have my mother anymore was pretty terrifying to me.

11. Some things you don’t want to overhear.

I don’t know if it’s terrifying but I was in the hospital 2 times because of liver problems and one because of a broken leg. This didn’t happened to me but to the persons in the bed next to me.

English is not my first language sorry if it’s not descriptive enough.

First one I heard that the guy went to the hospital because a urinary infection, it got so bad that the operated him and remove part of the scrotum, and the nurse had to clean the area 2 times a week, one with general anesthesia, he got put to sleep and the nurse worked on him the second time with local anesthesia, I never saw him because of the courtain but it sounded like they where working with sandpaper on a piece of wood nad the screams made me lose my sleep for that night, now if I see or feel anything weird down there I got straight to the doctor.

Other time an older men that the doctor just removed part of his foot, he had diabetic foot, and it was the second time, the first time they removed a part but it seems that he didn’t take care of himself so the infection continued, this wasn’t as terrifying but when I was there because of the broken foot I saw a lot of people with diabetics and most of them didn’t took care of themselves, the husband of one woman was smuggling her candies and 2 times the nurse had to inyect her with insulin because the sugar spiked on her blood.

The last one was just a couple crying outside a room their daughter just d**d, never knew the reason, it was at night, I tried to sleep but when I opened the eyes they where still there sobbing and hugging each other.

12. That is so not right.

my friend broke her hip in 9 places (and a lot of other bones, but that is irrelevant to the story) she was getting prepped for surgery and a surgeon in training rolled her onto the hip that she shattered. all her body weight went straight into her hip.

my friend screamed in agony and ended up seizing due to the extreme pain. that surgeon did not operate on her.

13. Kids should not have to be in hospitals.

As a child I was hospitalized a lot due to heart issues. One day I was out in the halls waiting for the play room to open up, I was about 8 at the time. There was a girl on my floor who walked with a huge machine that pumped her heart for her.

She was walking around too with what looked like her mom or older sister. Suddenly her machine started beeping, the nurses rushed. They were speaking German since this was a Berlin hospital ( I don’t speak German I’m Russian )

The look on her face before she collapsed was absolutely horrific, her eyes went almost blank and her lips were starting to go blue. Still haunts me, never found out what happened to her.

14. The fear of not being able to move when something goes down.

As a young adult I was hospitalized due to sepsis. I was in the hospital for a few months. The first day I was transferred to a new hospital I heard this loud terrifying noise outside my door late at night and the ground started to rumble.

I was in Florida so an earthquake was practically impossible but I had no idea what else it could be. I sat paralyzed in my bed, heart pounding out of my chest.

I finally worked up the courage to press the call button. You can imagine the chuckle the nurse had when she had to tell me it was just the floors being cleaned. I was panicked!

15. This hurts my heart.

It really wasn’t that bad but I was 5 and very very scared. It was after waking up from anesthesia after having my tonsils removed. Due to a genetic thing paink**lers or anything anesthetic doesn’t really affect me.

So I wake up and I am in a huge amount of pain, I’m surrounded by strangers and I can’t talk. And then I see the bandage on my arm from the IV and start crying. It felt like forever until my Dad and Mom were there.

But definitely being alone, in pain and unable to voice it was the scariest thing for me

16. Thank goodness someone was there to talk to them.

I was strapped down and on a ventilator. I woke up and I was on heavy drugs so I kept thinking I was in a very bad dream and and trying to get out.

I only did that a couple times but I remember having to be told it was real and not a dream. Whatever I think is real is the dream. And after a few seconds it would clear up.

17. Sometimes you don’t want to know.

Toward the end of my father’s life (he had terminal cancer), we had to take him to the emergency room. We got him checked in and as we’re waiting for him to be seen, we hear several ambulances.

Without going into too much grossness, there were three teenage kids (and they were kids) that all shot each other over some argument. So much blood. I had just never seen anything like that in such close proximity. All I kept thinking was that these boys had mothers and fathers and siblings. They were rushing all three in for surgery, but I doubt any of them made it and if they did, there had to have been permanent consequences.

I hope I’m wrong and I never did find out what happened to them, but man. That was some crazy, disturbing s**t.

18. That’ll get your heart going.

I was strapped down and on a ventilator. I woke up and I was on heavy drugs so I kept thinking I was in a very bad dream and and trying to get out.

I only did that a couple times but I remember having to be told it was real and not a dream. Whatever I think is real is the dream. And after a few seconds it would clear up.

19. What is the matter with some doctors??

After going out to drink one night and having not much at all, I blacked out. I was either drugged or had a bad reaction to hops, still not sure. Next day, I threw up nonstop for about 14 hours. When every muscle in my body was cramping bad enough I could barely move and my heart started acting real funny, I called an ambulance and went to the ER. They did every sort of test, gave me the runaround in a million different ways. But that wasn’t the scary part.

My parents had come, and the three of us were sitting in the room; at this point I was fine. In walks a doctor. He come in, says, “We got some tests back. Your white blood cell count is a little high. It could be leukemia,” and then walked out without another word.

They ended up shipping me off to another hospital to figure out what was going on and my dumb a** agreed. Other hospital was super confused, basically said you can throw up until you’re dehydrated enough to not be able to hydrate yourself again and I was perfectly fine now that I’d been rehydrated.

But that moment where we were sitting there contemplating the fact I may have f**king cancer in my blood….that was terrifying. I don’t have leukemia. I probably just have a hop intolerance.

20. A teen’s nightmare.

I had intestinal surgery when I was about 13.

Recovery was about 7 days to be sure that all the plumbing was working properly. Well about the 5th day I had woken up to a fairly large wet spot covering my crotch and gown.

Turns out I had a wet dream and was still unable to move easily to clean myself so I had to inform the nurse. I know it’s not much compared to these others, but to a 13 year old it was a nightmare!

21. They’ll hear them, always.

I was in a car accident with my mom back in 1999 here in Texas. A large van ran the red light at a four way intersection and t-boned us. The accident was so bad they took us all by ambulance to the emergency room.

The people who hit my mom and I were in the room next to us. The woman was heavily pregnant but explained to the doctors something felt off for many, many weeks but that her doctor in Mexico said the baby was fine. The ER doctors did an ultrasound and determined her baby was d**d and that it wasn’t due to the accident – they figured the baby had been d**d for WEEKS.

I’ll never forget that woman’s screams. It was heartbreaking. It was a mixture between heartbreak and disgust. She kept screaming “get it out of me, get it out of me”.

I’ll never forget that moment.

22. Unnerving indeed.

My wife used to work as a psych nurse at a hospital in the city we lived in. She was on the floor on the 4th of July about ten years ago. I get a call from one of her coworkers telling me she’d been a**aulted by a patient. She took a pretty good sucker punch, and was down in the ER to get checked out.

Well, I’m with a couple of my friends, and we all head in to see how she’s doing. We’re sitting with her as she’s laying in one of the beds, when we hear this awful wailing.

We turn around, and there’s this kid. Maybe mid teens? I can see the blood on his arm, running down and straining his clothes and the gurney. Turns out, he had blown his hand to shreds playing with fireworks. The screaming was extremely unnerving.

My wife was okay, but that poor kid was not.

23. Curtains aren’t always enough.

I went to the ER three months ago for seizure-like symptoms (turned out to be convulsive syncope and pretty treatable with an adjustment of my medications). However, I’ve been in medical lockdown this pandemic because my asthma is out of control. My doctor, at my appointment over the summer, stared me down and said, “You can’t get sick, do you understand? Your lung functioning can’t drop any further. You have no wiggle room left.”

But seizures are an emergency, and could mean something bad, like a brain tumor. So I reluctantly went to the ER and sat in the waiting room. Ten minutes later, a Covid patient comes in. She announces to the front desk that she’s been diagnosed and is having trouble breathing. She’s instructed to take a seat and wait. Now, with all the social distancing, there’s limited seats available. The only one left is one exactly six feet away from me.

There’s no place left for me to go, so I listened to her cough and wheeze and struggle to breathe for half an hour, absolutely terrified that I was going to catch the virus. I got called back for some tests and was given a bed in the non-covid area, but it was in the hall. The hospital was so full that all of us non-covid patients were crammed together in one ward. I was right by the doors that led into the covid hall, and got to watch doctors in full hazmat suits walk around. I kept thinking it looked like a movie in there.

And then a trauma patient was brought in and wheeled to an observation room. The curtains were pulled, but it was one of those glass-walled rooms, so you could still sort of see in. There were a lot of nurses and doctors running in and out. And there was a lot of blood – it was sort of pooling on the floor. The patient was yelling. Not screaming, but making those deep, loud, animal-like groans that says they don’t have the air or energy for a full scream. And all of us, stacked up in beds along the wall, tried not to look, because it felt like we were witnessing something private.

But those groans… they carried across the entire ward. It was terrifying. I could see some of the other patients trying not to cry. And to the other side of me, right over the cubicle wall, a nurse was on the phone talking about insurance and medical bills, and sounding bored and robotic, like she’d answered all of these questions hundreds of times before. It was absolutely surreal.

I got out a couple of hours later, but the entire experience was just… I still can’t find the words to describe it. I’d never been so afraid in my life. Afraid for myself, afraid for the patients, afraid for the doctors… just afraid for everyone going through it.

24. Textbook terrifying.

I was staying in a low security mental ward. I had let my insomnia get the better of my life and mental health and absolutely had to be admitted to get my medication and sleep schedule back to a productive place. While I there, you get to be friends with other people doing long stays.

I became friends with a guy that was a little bit younger than me and didn’t really think anything of it. However, this guy started to become a little.. unhinged? And really started only focusing on me. It got to the point of where he was waiting for me outside my room all the time, eating what I was eating, stuff like that. Hey, maybe I’m being a good example because I’m getting better and he wants to do the same! NOOOOOPE.

Turns out, he had paranoid schizophrenia and thought I could cure him. It came to a head one day where I was trapped in the rec room with him until our doctor could come since he would literally freak out if I left his sight.

The last time I saw him, he was being escorted to the high security ward, mumbling my name over and over again. He wasn’t breaking eye contact with a cold, unnerving stare and he held an outstretched hand towards me as the double security doors closed. I think about that stare when I don’t prioritize my mental health and get the shivers every single time.

25. Thank goodness for the happy gas.

When I was between 3 and 4 I had to have emergency abdominal surgery for a blockage. The scariest thing I’ve seen was either my parents having to stop at the double doors that visitors can’t pass, as they hurriedly rushed me to the surgical area. Mom crying on dad’s shoulder, dad looking very concerned.

Or, the guy they wheeled next to me in prep for the surgery. Back in the 70s they didn’t care about privacy and there weren’t curtains between patients, at least not in the surgery prep at this hospital. The guy next to me was an elderly man, unconscious with tape all over his face.

I have no idea what the tape was for, probably just to hold an intubation tube or something, but in my mind it looked like they just carved his face up and used tape to put it back together.

Scared the sh%t out of me! I didn’t know what they were going to do to me, if I would look like that guy etc… But shortly after that they gave me the happy gas and all was good.

26. You can’t forget that.

Was about 12 years old got bit by a poisonous spider. In ER for it. The guy in the next curtain was apparently shot and stabbed with knife still in him. Nurses opened the curtain didn’t realize me and my dad were in the next area over and so I saw a guy scream and holding in a knife in his gut.

I would not be ok if these happened to me, my goodness.

If something terrifying has happened to you in a hospital, share the story with us down in the comments.