It's well known the British go to hospital while the Americans go to the hospital.
But I wonder Americans really use go to the hospital in the completely same way as Britons do with the zero article hospital.
I have come across the following sentence, a bit modified for removing distractions, from a New York Times article.
Police officers fired rubber bullets and stun grenades at citizens, sending hundreds of people to the hospital by the afternoon.
It's unlikely that all of the hundreds of people mentioned above were taken to a single hospital, I believe. This begs the question--whether Americans use the phrase to the hospital even when people go to or are sent to multiple hospitals.
In British English, the phrase to the hospital in the quoted sentence above should be rewritten as to hospital, with no information on which hospital or hospitals they were admitted to, much the way phrases such as to school and to church have no interest in the physical place when they mean abstractly the purpose they are designed for.
With the phrase to the hospital, do Americans recognize abstractly and not care about the physical place, so to the hospital is used even when multiple hospitals are involved?
I appreciate any suggestions or explanations.