There's so much waiting going on in America's emergency departments. Administrative tasks such as registration (and discharge), initial evaluation and examination all add to wait times. You'll be cooling your heels even longer if you throw in a few tests for good measure.
While the average time spent waiting in the ER is a little longer than four hours, it probably won't surprise anyone that, in 2009, almost 400,000 people waited for 24 hours or more before it was their turn to be seen [sources: Marte, Rice]. And in 2007, most of the 2 percent of people who left the emergency department before being treated did so because of all that waiting [source: McHugh].
If you're able to do a little pre-ER planning, grab a diversion or two, such as a book, an electronic device or maybe your most recent knitting project to help the time pass.