Abandoned Hospital Awakening


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 Tragedy (in some cases finding they have Slept Through the Apocalypse), making them a Na´ve 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.


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  • 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. This also occurs in the film version of this book.
  • Earth Abides opens with a version of this, with protagonist Ish being bitten by a snake in a remote part of the Sierra Nevada and becoming half-conscious with illness for several days. When he wakes up and gets back to civilisation he finds it... isn't... any more.

    Live Action TV 
  • Like the Comic Book above, The Walking Dead begins with a brief prelude in which protagonist Rick Grimes is shot. Shortly after, he awakens to find himself in the hospital, alone.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In "This Year's Girl", the hospital wing Faith wakes up in after her eight-month Convenient Coma has an ill-maintained look with flickering lights, unpainted walls, and no staff on duty at the time.


    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: The Sith Lords 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 falls unconscious 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 III: Nocturne awakens to his power in the morgue of an Abandoned Hospital. Why is the hospital abandoned? Because an Apocalypse Cult has taken it over. How does he awaken? By having a demonic insect implanted (through the eye!) by Lucifer. Try counting how many horrors there are here.
  • In Corpse Party 2: Dead Patient, Ayami Itou's story will start this way, with her waking up on an operating table to boot.
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain: Punished "Venom" Snake awakens from a nine-year coma to find everyone fleeing the hospital he's in as a black ops team storms the building.
  • In FEAR 2: Project Origin, Auburn Memorial Hospital is (mostly) abandoned when Becket awakens after his Harbinger operation.
  • In You Are Empty, the gameplay begins with you awakening in an abandoned hospital, where there are zombie nurses trying to kill you with syringes.

    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".
  • In the Adventure Time episode "No One Can Hear You", Finn wakes up in an abandoned hospital in the Candy Kingdom and soon discovers that the entirety of the kingdom's citizens have mysteriously disappeared.