Uber or Emergency

Is hitching a ride after calling 911 becoming a thing of the past?! The idea is pretty simple, providing an easy three digit number for people to call in order to receive help during a life-threatening emergency. However, did you know that there is no national 9-1-1 system?

 Each State normally has their own dispatch centers that are set up within certain geographical areas that all calls are answered and dispatched through.

Each person pays for these systems when taxes are taken from your income and you also sometimes pay a surcharge with your phone bill. While we get the right to vote on building/destroying fire departments, shouldn’t the public get a say on how you’re treated once you call 911 in an emergency?

Recent news of Washington D.C’s ambulances saying that ambulances will no longer transport patients for ‘non-emergencies’. The idea behind this is that medics will be dispatched to an emergency, will then assess the patients on-site but they will no longer transport if the issue is deemed non-life-threatening. This new program is called, Right Care, Right Now. The stations in D.C are hoping that if they are able to free up resources and emergency room vacancy for ‘true’ emergencies that care can better be administered and therefore create a higher quality of care for patients in need.

For patients that are enrolled in Medicaid, the district will arrange transportation to and from community clinics/doctor’s offices through ride-hailing programs, like Uber and Lyft. Also giving any person needing assistance the option to have ride-services scheduled for them.

While 911 will always be answering any calls they receive and dispatching first responders to the scene, a nurse can be called to help decide the appropriate treatment and whether the patient should be taken to the hospital or go to a clinic. While this could be a wonderful idea, who falls to blame if the wrong decision is made on the scene? This has the potential to help free up resources in time of need but the potential of lawsuits and more problems.