Ok, story time!
I never had any indication of a problem before that day. All of the sudden one evening, I got horrific pain in my side and testicles and peed up some blood. I had known people with kidney stones so I suspected that was what was going on. When I went in to the nearest huge hospital, I told them what was happening, that I thought it was a stone and that that the pain was horrific. I spent 6 hours literally writhing in agony on the filthy floor and chairs of the ER waiting room, vomiting in the bathroom and being told "twenty more minutes" at least 10 times. The only attention I received was from other patients and one nurse literally stepped over me when I was on the floor. When I finally got in I told them I wanted an ultrasound (for cost and radiation reasons) but they insisted on a cat scan. The scan showed a 6mm stone and they said there was nothing they could do for me other than pain killers because of the placement of the stone. They told me that I had to wait and see if it passed and if it didn't within 2 weeks a urologist would go up my penis with a tiny camera and laser gun. Then they told me I might have lung cancer because of a partial nodule they saw in the cat scan. I took another cat scan on my chest and they told me it was nothing after all.
I asked if I could do anything to prevent future stones and they told me there was nothing I could do (I grabbed a pamphlet on my way out that said otherwise). I went to a naturopath the next day who gave me some liquid herbs and the recipe for a folk-remedy drink. A short time later I semi-painfully peed up a cloudy, salty-looking mixture and felt amazing. It had to be the stone since that was all I passed and a future ultrasound showed it was gone. Since then I got an awesome urologist (elsewhere) who traced my issue to some supplements I was taking, told me all kinds of dietary changes to make. Never had a problem since.
Yes, that huge, big-city hospital turned out to suck and yes, there are many places that would have given me better care, but that was the area's major hospital and was closest to me at the time. There was a benefit in knowing the size of the stone, but I could have bought my ow ultrasound machine with what this all cost me. With the exception of the resident that actually treated me, everyone in there was shockingly rude and lazy, and positively made a show of how little they gave a shit (I had insurance too, though it paid for less than I would have thought).
I would have been better off spending the night in agony at my comfortable house, and going to the naturopath and calling around to urologists the next am.
I know this isn't everyone's experience, but it is my only hospital trip and for what I paid, any McDonald's would have given me more value.
My point is not that hospitals aren't necessary, just that they don't necessarily deserve to be on one end of the value spectrum with McDonald's at the other.
BTW McDonald's is gross and I never eat there other than an ice-cream cone, but that's personal choice.