APPulance: Why people are looking for faster cheaper ways to get to the hospital
Risking their lives to save a few bucks.
Opening an app instead of calling 911.
No doubt, it will save some serious money, but it could come with serious, if not deadly, consequences.
Johnny, an Uber driver who does not want to be identified, says “nothing surprises me who you're picking up these days."
It's a new challenge behind the wheel for Uber drivers.
"He sat in the front seat and he says can you take me to ... hospital," says Johnny.
Riders take it to the extreme - when every second counts.
"They didn't want to dial 911. They didn't want to spend the money," says Brian, another anonymous Uber driver.
Instead of calling for help, riders turned patients are turning to Uber.
Brian says "You could hit your Uber button and in 30 seconds have a ride at your front door."
The new trend is forcing Uber drivers to act as first responders. These drivers asked us not to reveal their identity, but they still wanted to tell their stories of what is now being referred to as the "Uber-lance."
"I said to him why didn't you call an ambulance. His hand was bleeding. He goes because you're quicker and you're cheaper," says Johnny.
Drivers say passengers opt for Uber over an ambulance for speed and cost since the cheapest ambulance ride in El Paso according to city records is $785, plus $15 a mile.
Even some Uber drivers say they would order an Uber-ambulance.
“Depending on my injury, I would call Uber because they're quicker and a hell of a lot cheaper," says Johnny.
Emergency room Dr. Jeffrey Ingeman says he's seeing the trend firsthand. Patients are rolling up to local hospitals not in an ambulance but instead climbing out of an Uber.
"If you need to call 911, by all means, they provide the best service," says Ingeman.
But medical professionals do stress that if you have a real emergency you need to call 911 as Uber drivers are not equipped or trained to handle medical emergencies.