Hospitals are specialist medical facilities. Patients can attend hospitals as inpatients, that means they stay in the hospital night and day till they are well enough to leave. Outpatients attend a hospital for a procedure or investigation and return home afterwards.
Hospitals have expensive medical equipment that ordinary doctors and health centers don't have. Hospitals also have large numbers of doctors and other well paid, qualified health care staff. There are large numbers of qualified people on hand to deal with problems patients may have including emergencies. Some specialists like surgeons work only in hospitals or mainly in hospitals. Some types of medical procedures can only be done in hospitals or can only be done safely in hospitals.
Hospital care is expensive but if you can't pay that can kill you.
[In] the hospital admitting room (...) somebody tonight is dying because they cannot afford to go upstairs to a bed that’s empty waiting for someone with insurance to get sick. (Jesse Jackson speaking in 1988)  
In countries without Universal Health Care a Poor patient may die in a hospital waiting room without getting a proper diagnosis and without the doctors even realizing the patient's life is in danger till it's too late.
A long hospital stay can bankrupt a patient in Nations without Universal Health Care. Many Americans find out their cheap medical insurance doesn't cover them fully only when they need some extremely expensive hospital procedure. Many Americans end up bankrupt and homeless after some medical procedure or long hospital stay they can't pay for. The Affordable Care Act has reduced this problem but full Universal Health Care would be better.
This article is a stub. You can help Liberapedia by expanding it.