During one mission, Wade Wilson killed his teammate Slayback. As a result, he was rejected from the Weapon X Program and sent to the Hospice, allegedly a government facility where failed superhuman operatives were treated. However, unknown to the Canadian government, the Hospice’s patients served as experimental subjects for Doctor Killebrew and his sadistic assistant Ajax (known then as the Attendant), with the patients placing bets in a "deadpool" as to how long each subject would live. Killebrew subjected Wilson to various torturous experiments for his own deranged satisfaction.
In due course, Wilson formed a romantic relationship with the cosmic entity Death, who regarded him as a kindred spirit. Wilson started trying to kill himself, to join Death - going so far as to start taunting Ajax by saying his real name (Francis) over and over, which earned him the respect of his fellow Hospice patients. Then Ajax, angered by Wilson’s taunts, lobotomized Worm, the closest thing Wilson had to a friend. At Death’s prompting, Wilson killed Worm to end his suffering.