Uber or ambulance? That is the question

Published: Apr. 26, 2017 at 7:28 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 27, 2017 at 12:05 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - In an emergency, most people would expect to hear sirens. However, Michael Martin hears a chime coming from his cell phone.

The tone lets Martin know someone has requested his Uber.

"People find all kinds of uses for the service," Martin said. "I think that's pretty neat."

Lately, the service has included a ride to the ER.

"Believe it or not it happens all the time," Martin continued. "I take people to the emergency room or their personal doctor almost on a daily basis. I have had somebody that cut open their arm. I picked them up from a work site took them to the hospital."

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In the past, Martin has rerouted a trip to go to the emergency room.

"He was going to his personal doctor, but during the ride, he described to me almost every symptom of appendicitis I had ten years ago," Martin said. "Instead of taking him to his doctor, I offered to take him to the hospital."

The average cost of an Uber ride in Louisville is anywhere from $8 and $12. Whereas an ambulance starts around $400 and can surpass $1,000.

It is clear that cost is driving this national trend. However, specialists said to forget about the money.

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"I think you need to take into consideration the help that you need and call the proper agency here in metro Louisville to get you that help," Jody Meiman, Executive Director of Emergency Services said.

"If I thought someone needed medical attention immediately and I couldn't get them there in a timely manner, I would stop and call an ambulance myself," Martin said.

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