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Anime and Manga
- In Dragon Ball Z, after being beaten up by Vegeta and sent to the hospital, Goku repeatedly tries to escape the hospital to train (he actually succeeds once, but he's sent back to the hospital).
- In Fruits Basket, Rin is taken to the hospital to be treated for malnourishment. She wakes up when no doctors are around to check on her and, having no idea what she's doing there or why she was not imprisoned in the Cat's room as she promised, she promptly left and began wandering the streets in a dazed stupor.
- Itazurana Kiss: When Yuuko Matsumoto is admitted due to a duodenal cancer or ulcer (depending on the subtitles), and is required to have surgery and rest, she refuses to listen to any doctor's orders and leaves the building, in her hospital clothes, to get to a meeting related to the company she started!
- Monster: Johan is supposed to be in bed after brain surgery for a while, but Johan sneaks out and takes his sister with him. This however gets on a later stage with the locksmith, which becomes the first victim we see Johan execute in the series (the doctors he murdered are on another issue, that is indirect and as a "favor" to Tenma).
- At the end of the first arc of Sword Art Online, Kirito pulls this after two years in a coma from the titular game to find Asuna.
- The Tarot Cafe has a rather unwilling example. The abused child of an alcoholic is sent to the hospital by a tree spirit, after the kid's beaten so badly he'll likely die. The father, upon finding out about this, breaks into the hospital and steals his son out of it, arguing that he can't afford to pay for the care. The dad is not mourned, when he dies by the story's end.
- In Archie Comics, when Big Ethel wanted to care for a badly injured Jughead (he got hurt trying to run away from her), he fled the hospital.
- In The Pulse, while Jessica's out of the room calling Ben Urich after she and Luke are attacked by Lucia Von Bardas, Danny Rand sneaks Luke out of the hospital. Unfortunately, he doesn't tell Jessica he was going to do this.
- In this series of Emergency! fics, John Gage sneaks out so many times that Dr.Brackett once threatens to put him in restraints in the psych ward if he doesn't quit. Brackett wouldn't have gone through with it, since restraining John in this series is a very bad idea, but he wanted to get the message across. Roy isn't thrilled either, because it usually ends with John being hurt worse than he is already.
- Another time,Roy found him drunk and soaked from the rain after running off. He dropped John at Dixie's place because he needed watching and Roy didn't have time to return him to Rampart (plus,John was hating himself for the death of Dixie's niece,and Dix was mad because of a misunderstanding about what happened,so Roy hoped it'd get them talking again). They have to undress him to wash and dry his clothes,but Dixie deliberately delays giving them back because she knows he can't leave naked and it'll force him to stay put a while and rest.
- From Kill la Kill AU, Snowflakes, due to wanting to play in the snow, Ryuuko has often tried to "escape" from the hospital. When she succeeds, her parents are justifiably displeased.
- Fanfic author CrystalOfEllinon has quite a few of these for the G.I. Joe fandom. Between Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow and Beachhead, the Joe medics have their work cut out keeping their patients in the infirmary.
Film — Animated
- The Rescuers Down Under: Wilbur attempts to escape from the doctor mice before the operation. Apparently they're used to this because they have a sign: "Patient Escaping."
Film — Live-Action
- In Blue Ruin, Dwight is on a mission to find the killers of his parents. He gets shot in the process and collapses at the hospital reception. As soon as he wakes up after the operation that fixed his wound, he leaves the hospital through the backdoor.
- In Secondhand Lions, after Hub collapses, Garth and Walter take him to the hospital. A while later he wakes up and comes storming out of his room, demanding to know who put him there.
- In the Marvel film named for him, Thor is exiled to Earth, where he is hit by a van and hospitalized. When he wakes up, he doesn't know where he is, so he flees the hospital, beating up everyone who tries to restrain him.
- And then promptly knocked down by the same van and driver.
- The hero of Unknown (2011) gets into a car accident that almost gets him drowned and leaves him in a Convenient Coma. He wakes up four days later in hospital but immediately checks out against the doctor's advice, still feeling drowsy from the aftereffects of his coma and the Identity Amnesia coming with it.
- Corwin at the start of the first The Chronicles of Amber book.
- Done again, with considerably less effort, in a later book, because by then Corwin has regained his memories and knows how to use his powers. Freaked out his nurse quite a bit though when he vanished right in front of her.
- In The Dresden Files, Harry always checks himself out of hospitals the minute he's mobile enough to do so. Justified because he's a Walking Techbane and fears that some innocent patient's life-support might short out if he stays.
- In Stickfigure: A Diary of my Former Self, Lori ends up being sent to the hospital because her anorexia has her starving herself to dangerous degrees of skinniness. At one point, fearing the doctors will resort to force-feeding her via a tube down the throat, she tries to escape the hospital. The plan fails when the taxi driver she calls refuses to take her anywhere, since she still is wearing a hospital bracelet and thus has not been discharged. She then manages to pull the bracelet off, but is too dizzy from lack of food to get anywhere.
- Booth in the Bones episode "Two Bodies in the Lab". He insists on leaving the hospital to go save Brennan.
- DI Alec Hardy checks himself out of hospital early and against strong advice in Broadchurch. It comes back to bite him in the bum when he's ambulanced in a second time: the doctors inform his DCI of his previous, secret visit, and she takes him off the case.
- Faith in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (episode "This Year's Girl") wakes up from a coma and leaves without authorization. (She doesn't sneak around, but she knocks out a few personnel on the way out who try to stop her.)
- Subverted in Desperate Housewives. Mama Solis wakes up from her coma in the middle of the night and tries to leave the hospital on her own, but suffers a Staircase Tumble and dies.
- Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor does this in his first appearance.
"You might be a doctor, but I'm the Doctor."
- In Picket Fences, Kenny seems to be so determined to uphold his tough guy image that he self-discharges from hospital the day after he is almost fatally shot. He even goes as far as to insist on going back to work straight away and visiting the gun range to target practice, resulting in him pulling out his stitches and getting a stern lecture about dealing with trauma from Dr. Jill.
- In an episode of Psych Shawn breaks a patient out of a mental hospital to stop him from receiving electric-shock treatment and as part of a plan to clear the patient's name in a murder case.
- In True Detective, Rust decides to slope off from hospital during a smoke break when he's only recently come out of a coma. His partner almost starts to talk him out of it, but gives in and helps him to the car.
Marty: I'd protest, but it occurs to me you're unkillable.
- In the Made-for-TV Movie Under The Influence, a family patriach, admitted to the hospital for his alcoholism, breaks out of the hospital because he's so desperate for a drink, despite having been explicitly told that another drink will kill him. Sure enough, by the time his son (developing a drinking problem of his own) finds him, he's downed two bottles of whiskey and died.
- Cold Case's Lily does this despite having suffered a concussion in a car accident. Sure enough, she spends the rest of the episode suffering from the effects of the injury, only to have it revealed at the end that she never got out of the car to begin with and has been dreaming.
- One Herman cartoon featured a doctor telling the nurse, "Keep a close eye on this one," in reference to a patient half-out of bed and wearing roller skates.
- In the level "Trauma" from Hotline Miami, your character (who has just awoken from a coma) must sneak out of the hospital. It's the game's only Stealth-Based Mission, and your character will pass out if he exerts himself too much.
- In It Came From The Desert: Antheads, the player has to escape from a hospital controlled by the evil antheads... in a wheelchair.
- Dresden Codak has Kimiko break herself out of the hospital post-HOB (which cost her both legs, her left arm and part of her spinal cord) using only Thermite and a parachute, since there's no way the Government would let her just leave.
- Girl Genius: Klaus Wulfenbach makes his escape in style: on a giant mecha while still in a hospital bed and surrounded by two nurses, to the exasperation of Dr. Sun.
- The third novel expounds on Klaus being a lousy patient. His personal physician had to deal with an ever-escalating series of events that eventually led her to knocking him out whenever he got so much as a paper cut, just so he'd heal. Klaus eventually found a way around that, too. And then went on to invent cut-less paper while he was at it.
- The Whiteboard: After Doc woke up from yet another concussion he just walked back to his shop. Nevermind the IV bag still connected to his arm or medics shooting tranquilizer darts.
- In one episode of Batman: The Animated Series, an injured Bruce Wayne considered his Batman duties important enough to defy his doctor's orders to stay in bed and recuperate.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: In "Voices", Master Yoda's been confined to the medbay because the other Jedi are worried about him, since he's supposedly been talking to the dead, complete with Temple Guards on duty. He shanghais Anakin into helping him escape so he can go on a Vision Quest.