Abandoned Hospital Awakening

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An Abandoned Hospital Awakening is, as the name implies, when a character wakes up in an Abandoned Hospital. A combination of several different things in a single convenient package, an abandoned hospital awakening is a popular choice for beginning Horror works, though it shows up in other genres and contexts as well. The hospital used for this has usually been recently abandoned after a disaster of some sort, which helps explain why the character was there in the first place (though not necessarily why they were left behind).

Abandoned hospitals are creepy, which sets the tone by itself, but the addition of specific types of Scenery Gorn can ratchet that tension up even further. At the same time, it gives the characters (and the audience) a clue as to why the hospital was abandoned in the first place. Being in a Convenient Coma while the disaster was happening gives them an excuse to be Late to the Party, making them a Naive Newcomer until they figure things out. If they don't remember why they were in the hospital in the first place, then you've got an Ontological Mystery on your hands in addition to dealing with more immediate problems.

Especially popular during a Zombie Apocalypse, for some reason. See Abandoned Hospital for the supertrope. See Waking Up Elsewhere in general.

Examples of Abandoned Hospital Awakening include:




  • John Wyndham's The Day of the Triffids opens with the protagonist waking up in hospital following eye surgery, his eyes still bandaged. This turns out to be just as well since everyone else has gone blind from looking at weird lights in the sky, and now the population is being picked off by ambulatory, carnivorous plants.

Live Action TV

  • Like the Comic Book above, The Walking Dead does this with Rick at the beginning, though the first scene shows him getting shot during a traffic stop, to explain what put him in the hospital.


  • The beginning of the "Party Rock Anthem" music video.

Video Games

  • Dead Space 2 has Isaac wake up in a hospital in the Sprawl that isn't quite abandoned, but only because it hasn't finished being overrun by necromorphs yet.
  • Dementium the Ward has the protagonist wake up in a hospital where everyone else has run away or have been killed, the lights are all out, and the halls are crawling with monsters.
  • System Shock begins with the Player Character waking up on the medical deck, now filled with hostile mutants and cyborgs.
  • Knights of the Old Republic II starts with the player character in the medical ward of a space station that has only two other living beings aboard, one hibernating, the other forgotten.
  • Episode 3 of They Hunger has the player waking up at a hospital after he went through a Zombie Apocalypse; a sweet voice from offscreen says "Wake up, you had a nightmare!" Then the awakening turns out to be a dream, and the player wakes up for real—in a zombie-filled hospital.
  • Afraid of Monsters: David becomes unconsious in a hospital bathroom after taking what appears to be a overdose of drugs. After a nightmare sequence, he wakes up in a empty hospital with only hallucinations around him.
  • The opening of Silent Hill Homecoming, though the hospital is not quite abandoned...
  • Nightmare House 2 starts with the protagonist waking up in a padded cell in an abandoned hospital. It only gets worse from there.
  • Variation: the main character of Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne awakens to his power in an abandoned hospital. Why is the hospital abandoned? Because a doomsday cult have taken over it. How does he awaken? By being injected with a demonic insect (through the eye!) by that Lucifer. Try counting how many horrors there are in this example.

Web Original

  • Ruby Quest has this, with the twist that we don't know it's supposed to be an hospital until well into the game.

Western Animation

  • Peter, Joe, Quagmire, and Brian wake up in an empty hospital (discovering the rest of the world is gone a little later) in Family Guy episode "Forget-Me-Not".
  • On Adventure Time, Finn wakes up in an abandoned hospital and soon discovers that the entirety of the kingdom's citizens have mysteriously disappeared.