What is the meaning of The hospital will take hours to treat you? Does it mean that you will spend hours in the hospital before you will be treated (because there will be a lot of people there)? Or does it mean that the doctors will spend hours treating you (because your injuries are really bad)?

1 Answer 1


In my experience as a native speaker, it can mean either one. Probably the first meaning is more usual in most cases.

The hospital will take hours to treat you. The waiting room is always full and service is slow, and you could get seen faster if we go to the walk-in clinic around the corner or go see my cousin who knows nothing about medicine but loves to pretend he does


The hospital will take hours to treat you. But after that you will be okay. The doctors will need a lot of time to carefully prepare you for surgery and actually do the surgery, for example, and this time will be pretty much the same at any hospital, since the treatment process for these injuries is pretty much standard.

It can even refer to this, which can be common if the injuries are not that serious:

The hospital will take hours to treat you, because the waiting room is full and you'll have to wait hours just to be seen by someone; and then after you do get called to the back, you will have to wait a long time between different parts of your treatment, such as taking to a nurse, talking to a doctor, getting an x-ray, giving blood samples, waiting for results, waiting for the nurse to get off break, waiting for a specialist to arrive, and thry might put you in a room overnight. It will be hours and hours. Let's just wait and see if you really do show signs of gangrene before going to the hospital.

  • I agree. I also second the presumption that it is most likely the first case. Especially in America, hospitals have a notoriety for making you wait in the waiting room for hours unless you have one of the life threatening emergencies, in which case you will be stabilized before others get their turn. (unfortunately, those life threatening emergencies are things like heart attacks, so I'm rather happy to NOT get to go into the fast-pass lane!)
    – Cort Ammon
    Nov 15, 2015 at 22:38

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