EMS systems are so bogged down that even some cities are trying to figure out how to possibly incorporate ride-hailing programs into their EMS systems. For example, Washington, D.C., is researching the possibility of hiring triage nurses to determine if an ambulance is needed or if a taxi or Uber could take a patient to a doctor’s office. However, the program would not cover trips to the emergency department, which would require an ambulance.
While Uber and Lyft both officially encourage riders to call 911 for medical emergencies, there is no formal policy banning the transport of sick people to the hospital or emergency department. However, when was the last time your Uber driver was really paying that close attention to why you were going wherever you were headed? Drivers will not be watching to make sure a sick patient does not get sicker on the way to the emergency department.
BIO: Dr. Degesys is an EM resident at the University of California, San Francisco–San Francisco General Hospital and the Emergency Medicine Residents’ Association (EMRA) representative to the ACEP Board of Directors.