Haunted Hospital

It’s easy to see why so many sagas (in books, movies and most of all on TV) are set in hospitals. The wild mix of stock characters—from attractive, young residents, sage attending physicians, and wise cracking nurses & orderlies, to drug or sex-addicted specialists, narcissistic surgeons, and kindly, old administrators covering gambling debts with theft—combined with life & death dramatic decisions and the ethical quandaries posed by modern medicine, make for a setting ripe with story potential.

But what about when the hospital is the patient near death? The institution about to close, with emptying hallways, staff running off to find new positions, and once crowded rooms, resigned to eerie quiet…

The ambulance brought my mother to a hospital that is slated to close soon. The large rabbit warren of interconnected buildings that make up Beth Israel will be sold and a new, smaller inpatient facility will be build a few blocks away, and surrounded by buildings with outpatient care, labs and physician practices. Right now, walking the halls is a peculiar experience. As I walk from her room, I wander by pockets of frenetic activity that alternate with an emptiness that is almost haunted.

Am I seeing ghosts? No, but it is easy to imagine the specters of former patients, meandering down a hall and through a closed door or vanishing in quiet stairwell. The size of the hospital, the age of the connected buildings and the vast changes in how healthcare is delivered and funded, are making this institution a dinosaur. Still, it was the closest emergency room and I’m grateful. Mom is almost done with her inpatient OT & PT and will do the rest of her recovery, with help, at home. Strokes are another kind of nightmare.

Will I write a story in a haunted hospital? It’s tempting. But right now, I’m focused on helping Mom.


A silent & dark corridor.

A silent & dark corridor.


Sometimes it's hard to find the way out...

Sometimes it’s hard to find the way out…


  1. I’ve always found hospitals rather frightening places, for all sorts of reasons, and those photos reinforce that slight shudder. I’m very glad your mother is well enough to go home and I wish her all the best. You too. -hugs-

    • Candy Korman

      I used to collapse into a deep sleep after hospital visits. It was as if my body was on HIGH Defense for the length of the visit and then it would let go. Now, I’m being an advocate for my mom so I’m on high alert——”No, don’t check her blood sugar before you take her to the bathroom! Toilet first!” “Why are they serving THAT to a diabetic?” What is this new MRI for?” She wants to go home so badly and I can relate. She turned 89 a week ago and we had to celebrate in the hospital rehab room… Still I see a light at the end of the tunnel—if not at the end of that hallway!

  2. I’m sorry to hear about you mom’s stroke, but it’s good to hear she’s able to come home. Hospitals are indeed eerie and clinical and sedate all at once. There’s something about those hallways that strikes dread into a person’s soul.

    • Candy Korman

      Hospitals are always scary!
      But this one is… another order of weird. A few years ago, the labyrinth of hallways were crowded. But now I feel like one of the sacrifices sent to the Minotaur on my way from one bank of elevators to the busy rooms where my Mom is staying.

      Yesterday, she said that the showers were Felini-esque. But when she described the actual movie reference, it turned out to be Wertmuller’s ‘Seven Beauties’ with a shower scene in a German prisoner of war camp! Hope they let her come home today (tomorrow the latest). The haunted fiction references are getting pointed.