Getting a Ride to and From Outpatient Surgery

Most hospitals and surgery centers won’t let patients leave the facility with a stranger to get a taxi home. This is because they are worried about patients being left alone and potentially in a compromised state from the sedatives or anesthesia used during a procedure.

Fortunately, you can find help through a "ride to and from outpatient surgery" like Uniquehands Nonemergency Medical Transportation. Learn about the benefits of NEMT and how it can help you after outpatient surgery.

Choosing Your Driver

A person who has a procedure that requires sedation is likely to be told by their health care provider to make arrangements for someone to drive them home afterward. This is a very important safety measure, especially for older patients who may have difficulty getting around or might not be familiar with the route home.

Unfortunately, a patient who doesn’t have anyone to escort them can sometimes be discharged without having made these arrangements, and the results can be disastrous. In two recent medical malpractice cases, outpatient surgery patients who were discharged without a designated driver and then drove themselves home, suffered severe injuries.

To reduce the risk of a similar incident, it’s recommended that all ambulatory surgery centers require patients to have a responsible adult escort them after their procedure. While this may seem like an unnecessary precaution, it’s an important one that can help reduce the risk of a medical malpractice lawsuit.

If you are a patient, it’s crucial that you reach out to friends and family members to ask them to be your escort. If you don’t have any family or friends available, consider using a non-emergency medical transportation company that offers local and long-distance outpatient surgery transportation services. These companies have drivers who are specially trained in assisting people with disabilities and special medical devices.

You can find a list of these transportation companies online and in the phone book, or check with your insurance provider to see if they provide this service. Some ambulatory surgery programs ask for the name of an escort and their phone number so they can contact them if there is a problem. 

Preparing for the Ride

Depending on the procedure, a patient may need to be under sedation. Sedation can impair judgment, perception and dexterity. This means that patients should not drive after a surgery, even if they feel fine. It’s recommended that patients arrange for someone to pick them up after their procedure and stay with them through the first night of recovery.

Most surgical procedures that require sedation are performed in an outpatient setting, either at a hospital, separate surgery center or physician’s office. This is known as same-day or ambulatory surgery, and it offers the convenience of not having to stay overnight in the hospital, as well as a lower cost.

When a patient is scheduled for an outpatient surgery, they should make arrangements for someone to drive them to and from the surgery center and take them home afterward. During the check-in process, the staff will verify that the designated person is present in the waiting room and will be available upon discharge to drive the patient home. If the patient is unable to provide proof that they have suitable transportation, their surgery may be canceled.

In addition to confirming that the driver is present, healthcare providers should also consider asking for a copy of the driver’s license to ensure that the driver is valid. This can be an added measure of security, especially if the patient has an extended stay after the procedure and requires extended care.

While the vast majority of outpatient surgeries are able to be completed in a short period of time, it’s wise for patients to make arrangements for an overnight stay and a ride home just in case there are any complications or delays. Patients should make sure to bring any medications or supplements they need for the duration of their recovery.

As you can see, preparing for outpatient surgery is not a straightforward task. But there are many services that can help with transportation and other related needs. To learn more about these options, contact a local non-emergency medical transportation provider in Northern Virginia. They can offer you the best information and answer any questions you may have.

Getting There

Many medical procedures can be performed on an outpatient basis, including hernia repair and gallbladder removal. Other procedures, such as endoscopies and dental treatment that requires sedation, require the patient to have someone drive them home afterward. This is because the sedatives can cause drowsiness that makes it dangerous to drive.

The surgeon may suggest that the patient arrange for transportation to and from their procedure ahead of time. However, it’s not always possible to do so, especially for patients who live far from their hospital or surgery center. Thankfully, non-emergency medical transportation companies are available to transport patients to and from outpatient surgeries and other healthcare appointments. In fact, these services can be more affordable than the cost of a cab ride and are often covered by insurance.

Some hospitals and surgery centers will not let a patient leave the facility alone, even if they have an escort. They will require that a person of at least 25 years of age be present to sign the patient out. This is to prevent a patient from leaving with a stranger or a taxi driver, which could expose the healthcare provider to liability under a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Other healthcare facilities have a different approach to this issue. For example, they might encourage patients to have a friend or family member drive them to the hospital for their procedure and pick them up on the day of their operation. Then, the hospital or surgery center will notify that person that the patient is ready to be picked up.

Aside from allowing a trusted friend or family member to drive the patient, the healthcare facility might also offer transportation services themselves. Some of these services are provided through partnerships with local taxi companies, while others may be offered through a company. These companies offer the convenience of getting a ride to and from a healthcare appointment with the comfort of knowing that the driver is trained in assisting individuals with disabilities and other conditions.

As more patients consider alternative forms of transportation for outpatient surgery, healthcare facilities should take steps to educate their staff and help them prepare for these rides. Documenting that a patient was discharged against medical advice or signed out with a stranger is not likely to be a successful defense in a malpractice lawsuit, but it can help minimize risk.

Getting Home

Nearly two-thirds of all operations in the US are performed in outpatient facilities. These can be located within a hospital, a separate surgery center or in your physician’s office. Outpatient surgery—also known as same-day or ambulatory surgery—is convenient and can save money, but it is important to have a plan for transportation home. If you have a procedure that requires sedation or limits your ability to drive, your health care team will likely recommend that you bring an escort home after the procedure.

If you are discharged from an ambulatory surgery with no escort, you should consider hiring a professional home care service. This can be an excellent option if you will need to stay at home for a few days or overnight after your procedure, such as knee or hip replacement, spinal surgery, gallbladder removal or hernia repair. Home care professionals will also be able to assist you with getting in and out of the car and into your home after surgery.

Many medical facilities and surgery centers have legal procedures in place that require a patient to leave with an adult who can monitor their condition. This is because patients may be loopy from the sedation or drug and/or physically weak/sore after a procedure. They cannot safely operate a vehicle while in these conditions.

As other ride-sharing services gain popularity for healthcare services, some doctors’ offices and surgical centers are starting to allow patients to use these options. However, this practice opens the facility up to potential medical malpractice lawsuits.

For example, if the sedative or medication you received from the doctor affects your reaction times and makes it unsafe for you to drive, you could be seriously injured in a crash. This could result in your medical bill going up significantly, not to mention the cost of an expensive vehicle.

A non-emergency medical transportation agency like Uniquehands Nonemergency Medical Transportation can provide a safe and comfortable ride home after outpatient surgery. The company’s drivers are trained to assist people with disabilities and special medical equipment and supplies. They are familiar with the rules and regulations for transporting patients to and from outpatient surgery.

Most hospitals and surgery centers won’t let patients leave the facility with a stranger to get a taxi home. This is because they are worried about patients being left alone and potentially in a compromised state from the sedatives or anesthesia used during a procedure. Fortunately, you can find help through a "ride to and…