Have you ever considered calling a ride-sharing service such as Uber or Lyft instead of an ambulance to the hospital? If so, you are certainly not alone. It seems more and more people are using ridesharing as a means of transportation to medical care.
There are an overwhelming amount of reasons why people are doing this when they need medical attention. Ambulances can be extremely costly and sometimes not covered by insurance. But why are they so expensive? You are paying for the advanced equipment and technology in an ambulance that you may not actually need or use. Coupled with the fact that Uber and Lyft offer rides within minutes of scheduling, you have a less expensive option for getting to the hospital fairly quickly, especially if it isn’t an emergency.
However choosing a rideshare over an ambulance can come with its own risks. Ambulance drivers can run stop signs and red lights and have the sirens to help them do so while staying safe maneuvering traffic in the event of an emergency, while ridesharing cars don’t have this ability.
In addition, if you schedule an Uber or Lyft instead of an ambulance, you are likely to be driven by an untrained, “self-employed” person who is driving their own car on behalf of the rideshare company. You are not being driven by EMTs who can help you in the event of any medical emergency or mishap on the way.
If you choose to take a rideshare service when you need to go to the emergency room, you are also putting your driver in an uncomfortable position. They are forced to choose between assuming potential liability if something goes wrong. Understandably so, a driver may want to call an ambulance instead of allowing someone who has been bleeding to ride in his or her car. Rideshare companies will clearly want to avoid the legal liability of transporting someone to the hospital when they can.
What are some conditions where you should call an ambulance? If you’re having trouble breathing, if you’re in serious pain, if you think you might be bleeding internally, if you’re pregnant, or if you think you might be having a heart attack or stroke (chest pain, numbness, problems speaking), or any other serious complication, it might be best to call an ambulance.