What is “hospital time!”

I have spent a very fair amount of time at the local hospital recently; Tri-City Hospital.  Have you ever wondered why everyone hates taking the quick trip to the emergency room? It’s not because of the cracked-out meth freak sitting next to you attempting to bite his own elbow; or the guy sneezing, that has figured out how to graffiti using the space between his fingers as an HVLP paint sprayer. No, the reason is because of “hospital time”.

monkeyI’m getting the picture. I believe hospital time’s equation looks something like “hospital time is = or > stated time, plus two hours”. You see, I think it has to do with processing of patients and availability of resources. There should be no doubt that more staff and larger facilities wouldn’t solve the problem. Perhaps That would only change the equation, not resolve “hospital time”.

During my visits . . . with an ‘s’, I had casually asked several staff on the hospital floors if they know what “hospital time” is and if it exists in their profession . . . or, perhaps in this hospital. I feel the overwhelming response favored the existence of hospital time in the hospital. But just how was it explained back to me? Many just chuckled and snickered, then would claim about an hour-and-a-half; explaining to me that “it’s the time that you wait”. But since the hour-and-a-half that you wait is never an accurate number . . . remember, we’re talking quietly while in the emergency room area . . . among all the sick, screaming, and drunk . . .

Crowded emergency room waiting area.The time you wait can be a long time, so let’s use my equation. If that staff member said it was an hour-an-a-half, let’s plug that in. A simple high fever and crankiness for a toddler can take an hour-and-a-half. Add two hours because you’re in the emergency room. So, at a minimum you’re drinking a minimum of one cup of coffee from Eric outside in the coffee cart. Now, let’s consider a slightly different scenario where a young Pop Warner football player comes in with Mom and Dad just after being injured in the big game. The child and mother are favoring his leg. 1.5 hours + 2 hours = 3.5 hours. During the visit, the doctor orders a CT scan of the knee that is now dependent on that department. Different department is just like starting the equation over. Let’s see, that’s 3.5 hours to start. 3.5 + “1.5” hours (staff) = 5 hours . . . oh, don’t forget the addition of the “plus two hours” for a total time this evening of 7 hours or two “grande” sized lattes and mochas from Eric.

I’m going to say the staff is correct claiming hospital time is 1.5 hours. Yet I feel I am also correct is adding the 2 hours atop the stated time. The way I see it is the immediate moments spent in the emergency room waiting area among the infected, seemingly pale in comparison to the amount of time spent looped into the emergency room stronghold, for them to finally say . . . “you need see a specialist”, but give a nice $850 parting gift that supports the knee while waiting for the consult appointment.splint

Good thing there’s decent food for many of those hours available in the cafeteria. Tri-City’s café is a very decent support system below decks.tricity


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