If you have ever considered taking an Uber or Lyft instead of an ambulance, you are not alone. It seems more and more people are using rideshare services to get to the doctor or hospital for medical care.
Ambulances can be costly and often, the costs are not covered by your medical insurance. You are paying for the advanced equipment and technology in an ambulance that you may not actually need or use. Couple that with the fact that Uber and Lyft offer rides within minutes, and you have a less expensive option for getting to the hospital quickly.
A recent article in the New York Times provides some insight into the issue. There are several factors that may make Uber a good alternative to an ambulance. Many people call ambulances for non-emergencies when they do not need one. But recently, after an injury accident requiring non-life threatening treatment, many who are uninsured are choosing uber over spending thousands for an ambulance to the hospital.
Ambulances cost into the thousands for a ride of a few miles. While in some instances the ambulance is the only safe alternative, on minor injuries many choose a ride-share to save money. Using an ambulance when not medically necessary means that resources are being taken away from real emergencies.
Response times are longer than they would be for ambulances if they were only used for truly life-threatening situations. It also takes the attention of emergency responders away from actual emergencies.
Uber Health App
Uber encourages the use of their rideshare services for medical treatment. However, they do not recommend that you make the choice on your own. Uber worked with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) experts to develop an application for health needs. The app is called Uber Health and it provides a cost-effective and efficient option for patients who need to get to the doctor.
The Uber Health app is designed to be an alternative to taking a Taxi and rides are arranged for patients through the doctor’s office. The app is not designed to be utilized for medical emergencies. It is up to the doctor to determine the needs of the patient and if the patient is not experiencing an emergency they may recommend Uber as the best form of transportation.
What Happens if There is a Problem?
A patient could suffer a serious medical problem because he or she used a rideshare service rather than an ambulance. If a person’s medical condition worsens because he or she did not get to the hospital soon enough, who is to blame?
The Uber driver would likely not be held accountable if he or she was not aware of the situation. However, if the doctor requested an Uber for a patient through the Uber app, it is possible that the doctor could be found negligent. Doctors are held to a standard of care because of their positions.
Therefore, if a doctor made the decision for a patient to take an Uber rather than an ambulance, the doctor potentially may face a claim if the patient worsens or dies as a result.
Taking an Uber or Lyft to the hospital is a decision that is best made by a professional. If you are certain that your injury is minor, you should not tie up ambulance resources by calling an ambulance. However, if you are seriously hurt or your condition is unknown, it is best to get the advanced medical care that only an ambulance can offer.
When you were hurt in a car wreck due to the negligence of another, you may be owed compensation for your injuries. Contact our legal team at Baumgartner Law Firm to discuss the details of your case today.