The most recent issue of AARP begins with a short article entitled “Uber and Lyft Disrupting Ambulance Usage”. Fortunately, the article itself was much more balanced that the title was. Why would anyone choose to take Uber or Lyft to the hospital (read ER)? Because, my dear, it costs a whole lot less!
The article notes that emergency medical transport in an ambuance can easily exceed $1,000. I can testify to that, as my oh dark thirty ambulance ride last October was over $1,000. Of that, my insurance covered all but $200. I was not in a position to call Uber or Lyft – I could not breath. If I had called Uber or Lyft, their driver would have to have been out of his or her mind to accept me as a passenger, as I could not breath without great effort.
In a less serious situation, Uber or Lyft I feel is a more than acceptable option. I would rather not see questionable drivers on the road. (As in a driver that starts out their trip to the ER in relatively okay shape, but then takes a turn for the worse.) Interestingly enough, the article states that Lyft is being incorporated into some emergency systems. In such a case scenario, a triage nurse decides whether an individual requires an ambulance or not.
From a conversation that I had with one of my nurses when I was in the hospital, I know that the hospital in question does not allow a patient that is being released to drive themselves home if they have been given pain medication. In such a case, either Uber of Lyft will be called for them.
From my personal perspective, allowing Uber of Lyft to take less serious individuals to the hospital frees up medical resources. Having said that, Uber and Lyft drivers need to use their comon sense – if a prospective passenger looks unstable healthwise, they need to encourage them to call and ambuance.
(c) April 2018 Bonie Cehovet
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