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Medical Malpractice. It's All We Do. 206-443-8600

Need to go to the ER? How about Uber?

Posted Monday, April 10, 2017 by Tyler Goldberg-Hoss

If you have ever needed an ambulance to take you to a hospital, you likely were in some distress. Assuming the distress was transitory and you recovered, you likely felt distress again when you received the bill from the ambulance.

Enter ride-sharing apps such as Uber and Lyft. Increasingly, those who need a ride to the emergency room are dialing up one of these services instead of calling 911.

Cost is certainly a motivating factor for some. Another is the patient can pick the hospital he or she wants to go to, unlike many ambulances who often have to take you to the nearest one.

Reliability is another, with many people, at least in urban locations, feeling like Uber and Lyft are more predictably around and available than ambulances.

Even some emergency medical providers like the idea, at least in “non-emergency, low-acuity” cases, where the person needs medical attention but it is not life threatening. Using a ride sharing app in such circumstances reduces the stress sometimes placed on ambulances, allowing them to focus their resources on the high acuity patients who really need them.

In fact, in Washington, D.C. they are studying whether its 911 operators should be routing calls to triage nurses, who could then determine whether the patient needs an ambulance, ride-sharing service, or something else.

Certainly, there are drawbacks. Drivers for these services cite the possible liability attached to giving a ride to a person in obvious need of medical attention. Ubers can’t speed like ambulances, and it can be difficult to judge what is an actual emergency versus not.

You can read more about this here:

For a trip to the ER, some are opting for Uber over an ambulance

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