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Are Baltimoreans Following The Trend Of Using Uber Over An Ambulance?

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Calling an ambulance is usually the first thing people do in an emergency, but that may no longer be the case.

New research finds more Americans are ditching ambulances and using private cars or even Uber to get to the hospital. The simple reason behind the new trend: cost. An ambulance ride can costs hundreds of dollars, compared to an Uber ride of just a few dollars.

The University of Kansas study found ambulance calls dropped 7 percent in cities with Uber services, but that may not be the case in Charm City.

Baltimore Fire officials tell WJZ calls for service actually jumped nearly 17 percent from 2015 to 2017. However, the department admits they don't track other ways people get to the hospital.

A recent study from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found time -- not cost -- played a factor in people using private cars to get to the hospital.

That study found nearly 12 percent of shooting and stabbing patients arriving by ambulance died, compared to just over 2 percent who arrived by private car.

Experts still recommend people call 911 for life-threatening emergencies, but for small injuries, they say you're better off with other ways to get to the hospital. Researchers say there are benefits, too. If more people are using private cars, it allows paramedics to focus on more-serious injuries.

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