Sick people are increasingly using ride-hail to get to the emergency room, putting drivers in an uncomfortable position and a potentially tricky legal bind, BuzzFeed News reports. From the report: Mike Fish was driving for Uber 10 minutes outside of Boston when he picked up a second passenger in his Uber Pool who, he said, seemed “out of it, drowsy — almost sedated.” When the drowsy passenger asked him if Boston’s Mass General hospital was the nearest emergency room, “that set off a red flag,” Fish told BuzzFeed News. “I said, ‘Do you need the ER?’ He said yes. It came out that, over the last few days, he’d been passing out and losing consciousness.” But instead of calling an ambulance to get the urgent medical attention he needed, the sick passenger called an Uber Pool. The shared ride would save him a few bucks, but it meant he’d have to wait for Fish to drop off the first passenger before he’d get to the ER. “I was a little nervous,” Fish said. “I didn’t know what was going to happen.” Ride-hail drivers are, by and large, untrained, self-employed workers driving their own cars on a part-time basis. They’re not medical professionals. But as health care costs have risen and ride-hail has become more pervasive, people are increasingly relying on Uber and Lyft drivers to get them to the hospital when they need emergency care. A recent (yet to be peer-reviewed) study found that, after Uber enters new markets, the rates of ambulance rides typically go down, meaning fewer people call professionals in favor of the cheaper option.
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