People all over the country use ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft for a night out with friends or a trip to the airport, but a new trend is showing people hailing an emergency Uber ride to the hospital.
"It started to be a more growing trend because it is a little less expensive, of course," said James Hammond, who claims to be Knoxville's first Uber driver.
He has picked up and dropped off numerous people at the hospitals in the Knoxville area. He even once was requested to do a wellness check on an elderly man from his grandson living in Louisiana.
"I like being with people, I like engaging. I see this as a concierge position on wheels," Hammond said.
In his time driving for Uber, Hammond thought he had seen it all until a few days ago when his riders were expecting a baby any minute.
"[I] pick 'em up, her water had broke and got her to Blount Memorial [Hospital] and grabbed her a wheelchair and rushed her into the birthing center," Hammond said. "It was a pretty rewarding feeling."
Hammond said many people are turning to Uber because of cost.
A typical Uber ride costs between $7 and $10, while an ambulance ride typically runs around $500.
Mike Cohan, an AMR Rural/Metro representative, said if you need medical attention, you should seek medical expertise.
"If you are bleeding, you got a broken bone, anything seriously wrong with you, you want to be with paramedics and the equipment that can begin to treat you and stabilize you," Cohen said.
AMR recently partnered with Lyft to provide non-emergency medical transportation services for patients who need a ride from the hospital to their home or to outpatient procedures.
"I think that's what AMR is trying to do is to say there are some times and places where this may be appropriate," Cohen said.
Some of Hammond's not so frequent riders say it's not a bad idea.
"If it wasn't super serious and I couldn't ruin the Uber driver's car, yeah I probably would," rider Tina Edlund said.
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