CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Each month in the Charlotte area, hundreds take ambulances to the emergency room.
But there is a new trend raising red flag among medical professionals.
People in real emergency situations are opting to call an Uber or Lyft for a ride to the ER instead calling 911 -- all to avoid paying expensive ambulance bills.
Carmen Torres for example called Uber for an ER ride. She said at the time of the emergency, she felt like she was going to die.
"I was pretty much screaming in pain," Torres says. "Already in tears, go upstairs and try to lay down and that didn't work out."
She became violently ill, throwing up uncontrollably.
"I needed to go to the ER. I wasn't going to call an ambulance."
She grabbed her phone, loaded Uber and plugged in the hospital address.
Why not just call 911, you ask?
Well see, Torres called for an ambulance once before but her insurance didn't cover the ride and was stuck with the $600 ambulance bill.
Emergency officials do you say it's OK to call an Uber or a taxi to take you to the ER -- if it's not a life-threatening situation.
One big difference between an ambulance and an Uber is the response time. An ambulance, they can blow through stop signs and red lights to come to you. Neighbor on the other hand, you don't know when they're going to show up. Let's go ahead and request hours, now.
Also something to think about: what would happen if your situation gets worse while you're in the Uber or Lyft?
What about drivers not being familiar with the hospital layout and having a hard time finding the ER entrance in the first place?
All those extra seconds or minutes could mean the difference between life and death.
Uber drivers say it's happening as well and admittedly worry about the situation often.
Locally, MEDIC says it's certainly advised if you're in a life-threatening situation, call a professional and leave that work to them, not a ride-sharing service.
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