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Institution for diagnosing and treating the sick or injured, housing them during treatment, examining patients, and managing childbirth. Outpatients, who can leave after treatment, come in for emergency care or are referred for services not available in a private doctor's office. Hospitals may be public (government-owned) or private (profit-making or not-for-profit); in most nations except the U.S., most are public. They may also be general, accepting all types of medical or surgical cases, or special (e.g., children's hospitals, mental hospitals), limiting service to a single type of patient or illness. However, general hospitals usually also have specialized departments, and special hospitals tend to become affiliated with general hospitals.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on hospital, visit Britannica.com.