LAS VEGAS (FOX5) - Rideshare drivers have seen an influx of customers requesting rides to the emergency room.
When Jose Buzani heads to work, he has to buckle up and power up his cell phone.
“I’ve been driving since late 2015,” said Buzani.
Working as an Uber driver for the last three years has helped Buzani figure out the fastest routes and great ways to get a top driver rating, he said.
“I have free waters and plastic bags for obvious reasons,” said Buzani. “(They're for) late night riders.”
But driving for a rideshare company has also come with its fair share of surprises.
“I thought I was just going to be driving tourists around from casino to casino,” said Buzani. “But you run into some crazy stuff here in Las Vegas.”
That includes medical emergencies like Buzani’s recent rideshare request for a trip to the emergency room.
“It was scary,” said Buzani. “I thought if anything happened to her, I’d be liable.”
Buzani picked up a girl and her friend that was dehydrated and not fully responsive. That ride turned into a race against time.
“I have waters in my backseat for the passengers,” said Buzani. “She started splashing water on her friends face to keep her awake.”
He said, thankfully, they made it.
“I helped carry her into the ER,” said Buzani. “I helped get her checked in.”
However, Buzani’s story isn’t uncommon. According to a study from a University of Kansas Professor and a San Diego Doctor, there’s been a seven percent drop in ambulance calls nationwide since Uber started up.
“Obviously because of cost,” said Buzani.
Buzani’s scary ride cost about $10, but according to officials from Community Ambulance, that same ride in an ambulance, can vary.
“From a couple hundred to around a couple thousand (dollars),” said Caitlin Medina with Community Ambulance PR.
Medina said that is because EMT’s can actually work on the patient in the back of the ambulance and the cost depends on what happens during that ride.
“Trauma’s, car accidents, birth’s, overdoses, heat related issues,” said Medina. “We can take care of any patient that comes into our ambulances and we’ll get them there in the safest and most effective way.”
Medina said if people are having a medical emergency, it’s always best to call 911.
“The first call they should’ve made, as opposed to Uber, is 911,” said Medina. “It’s not worth your life.”
Uber or Ambulance? When you have a medical emergency who are you calling?— Chernéy Amhara (@CherneyAmharaTV) December 7, 2018