At one time or another, we have all contemplated on whether to call an ambulance or not. For many, the idea of having to pay a sizable bill for the cost of the “lights and siren” ride to the hospital was a deciding factor. But what if there was another way to get to the hospital in non-life threatening situations when medical care is needed?
A new research paper that examined ambulance usage rates in 766 US cities in 43 states where the ride-booking service Uber has been established has concluded that the number of ambulance requests has dropped significantly. This highlights the idea that in non-life threatening situations Uber may be a great alternative to getting to the hospital
David Slusky, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Kansas, and Dr. Leon Moskatel, an internist at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego, co-authored a study that found a drop in ambulance requests in the Uber-served cities to be at approximately seven percent.
Dr. Moskatel explained, “A fair number of people are using ambulances to get to the hospital because they simply don’t have another way to get there.” The availability of ride-booking services, like Uber – that have relatively short wait times to service, presents a logical alternative to calling 911 for non-life threatening medical needs.
It should be stressed, in no uncertain terms, that when presented with a life-threatening medical emergency the only choice is to call appropriately trained medical professionals by dialing 911. Paramedics are trained to deliver life-saving treatment on the scene and in route to emergency rooms and trauma centers. But in instances where someone is experiencing a non-life threatening medical situation, an Uber ride is an excellent alternative.
Using a service like Uber or Lyft to get to a hospital when the situation is not a life-threatening emergency also frees up paramedics for truly life-threatening medical emergencies. This, in and of itself, helps to save lives.
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