Hospital Standard Time… The New Time Zone?

Hospital Standard Time… The New Time Zone?

The first time I heard this was from a friend’s husband. We both stood in front of the check-in desk in the radiology department at our local Children’s Hospital. We just happened to be there at the same time for very different, yet very similar reasons.

At the check in desk, no one sat. It was empty. No signage to otherwise direct the incoming traffic of parents who are checking in their children with apprehensive, fear, or denial. There was no one available to move us forward to our next step in our own journeys. We stalled, waiting….

HST” he says to me.

I smiled, “What’s HST?” I asked.

Hospital Standard Time. They run on their own time.

… and while I sit here and wait, 95 minutes past the LATEST time they predicted to remove J’s EVD…almost 2 hours after the numbing meds were added to his scalp, I find myself frustrated because he was right.

Hospital Standard Time

I think of all the procedures, appointments and consultations that we’ve sat waiting in this hospital. Sometimes the waiting was minimal, they were as courteous and respectful of our time as they would want us to be for theirs. The minor exception comes within areas like the radiology or surgical units (though there, a little nudging can get you far).

Then there’s inpatient… where you have to be MORE than patient.

The nurses are sometimes helpless, left to the whims of the doctors, seemingly distracted by… being a doctor. In this case, asking our nurse to prep our son to get his EVD removed. 2 hours ago. For a procedure that was supposed to happen about 2 hours before that…. which means, we’ve been waiting 4 hours for a procedure, 2 with meds on board; meds wear off.

We have been left to wait, to feel helpless to move forward in our journey or to plan our evening’s recovery. It is late enough for J to reach complete exhaustion, and for my apprehension of his impending discomfort (aka pain) to run amuck. While there are ‘reasons’ and scenarios this happens often enough that I’m left to believe that yes, they’re on Hospital Standard Time.

What’s your experience with HST?

Gina St. Aubin, Editor of Special HappensGina is the owner / editor, and lead author of Special Happens. She resides in Colorado where she is a wife and mother of 3, and is a member of the Board of Directors for the SPD Foundation. You can read more about her here.

By | 2012-07-06T08:06:28+00:00 July 6th, 2012|Categories: Medical / Therapies|Tags: , , , |6 Comments

About the Author:

Gina St. Aubin

Gina St. Aubin is a former Victim’s Advocate who now advocates for those with intellectual and physical challenges. Her eldest son is diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, Electrical Status Epilepticus during Sleep / Landau-Kleffner Syndrome (a rare epileptic disorder causing verbal aphasia) and Developmental Delays. In June, 2012, her son also underwent a successful hemispherectomy. Gina is the editor, author and owner of Special Happens, serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the SPD Foundation, and resides in Colorado where she is a mother of 3, wife, blogger, writer and special needs advocate.


  1. Tami July 6, 2012 at 9:40 am - Reply

    The waiting is so hard, but endless when you are a child! Poor Jackson. I hope he is relieved very soon. <3

    When my husband was hospitalized for 4 months, we definitely experienced HST while in ICU. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. All for "good reasons" involving patients who seemed to need the team of doctors as badly as he did. Once we got to Craig Hospital, however, there was never a delay. They are a well-oiled machine! They keep their patients busy and understand that if one appointment is late, it will mess up the entire day for that patient, and others seen by that patient's doctor. Very impressive.

    • Gina @SpecialHappens July 6, 2012 at 10:41 am - Reply

      That’s awesome that Craig Hospital runs so well. Other hospitals could learn from them… wish this one was one of them! Thanks Tami.

  2. Mary @ Fit and Fed July 6, 2012 at 11:02 am - Reply

    What a dedicated mom you are, helping Jackson through the trials of Hospital Standard Time and many others. Sending best wishes to Jackson for the quickest possible recovery, and to the rest of the family, too, that you can also get what you need.

    • Gina @SpecialHappens July 6, 2012 at 9:20 pm - Reply

      Thanks so much for your support Mary!

  3. Trish July 6, 2012 at 11:40 am - Reply

    I remember taking my six month old in for surgery and waiting for 45 minutes after the resident talked to us before checking with a nurse to see how long it would be (’cause babies like to eat when they wake up, ya know?).

    Turns out the residents were supposed to take the chart back to the nurses’ station but he left ours in the room with so the nurses didn’t even know we were waiting!

    For follow up appts with that surgeon, we would often wait an hour or two if something took longer in a surgery he was doing that day.

    • Gina @SpecialHappens July 6, 2012 at 9:21 pm - Reply

      Yikes. Absentminded surgeons are scary!

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