Report: Patients Picking Uber, Lyft Over Ambulances

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — There is a growing trend of people turning to apps instead of ambulances.

CBS Los Angeles reports the incentive is saving money, but experts warn that those in need of immediate medical attention are putting themselves in danger.

“If you go to the wrong hospital because of self-transport or Uber or Lyft, that hospital will then call 911,” said Marc Eckstein, the Los Angeles City Fire Department’s medical director.

Those riders are likely to be put in an ambulance anyway and taken to other hospitals that offer specific medical needs.

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“That difference of 30 minutes or more could mean the difference between life and death,” Eckstein explained. “Because not only our EMTs and paramedics trained to stabilize and resuscitate them [patients] on scene, they also know what hospital to transport them to.”

An ambulance transport can cost between $100 and $1,700.

Uber has taken note of the emerging trend and is discouraging riders from using the service in the case of a medical emergency.

“We’re grateful our service has helped people get to where they’re going when they need it most. However, it’s important to note that Uber is not a substitute for law enforcement or medical professionals. In the event of any medical emergency, we encourage people to call 911.”

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