Uber to the hospital? Bad idea, says emergency room doctor

Published: May. 20, 2019 at 7:06 PM EDT
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(05/20/19) - Uber and Lfyt are a popular way to get around.

But people are no longer just using those car services for a ride home from the bar. According to a new study, people are now calling ride share services during medical emergencies.

"I think there's a lot of ways to get to the hospital. If we see 200 people a day in our ER, about 50 of them show up by ambulance. Which means the other 150 came by car," said McLaren-Flint Emergency Department medical director Dr. Raymond Rudoni.

He said an Uber may be a more convenient ride to the hospital, but not exactly safer.

"On the way in if something was to happen, their breathing got worse, had a seizure, they passed out, something like that, there's nobody to help them in the back of an Uber," Rudoni said.

But that's not stopping people from calling. The study, done by economists at the University of Kansas studied ambulance rates in 766 cities across the country since Uber entered the market.

It found the ambulance user rate decreased by at least 7 percent. One of the main reasons people are calling Uber is to save money.

The average cost of an ambulance ride for someone without insurance ranges from less than $400 to $1,200 or more, plus mileage.

"I think we can all say health care is very expensive, especially for some people. But I also think what you don't want to is make a decision which could negatively impact your health in a way that would be lot more expensive," Rudoni said.