Many outpatient procedures, like colonoscopies, require sedation. Hospitals require patients to be driven home after one of these procedures by a family member or friend.
But not everyone has a trusted friend who can drive them home. Colonoscopies are recommended for people 50 years and older. If your friends or family are no longer able to drive, you may find yourself looking for other transportation options. However, you can’t take an Uber home by yourself after your colonoscopy.
Why can’t I drive myself?
Whether you choose deep sedation or conscious sedation for the procedure, sedatives remain in the blood for 24 hours. Side effects of sedation include drowsiness, nausea, impaired reflexes, and even amnesia.
After the procedure, you will be monitored for a few hours to ensure that it is safe for you to leave the hospital. Even if you feel fine at this point, it still isn’t safe to drive. Driving after sedation carries the same legal penalties as driving under the influence.
Not only should you avoid driving after a colonoscopy, but you should also avoid drinking alcohol or making any important decisions for a full 24 hours. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Why can’t I take an Uber home after my colonoscopy?
Not only do you need someone to drive you home after your colonoscopy, but you also need them to stay with you for the rest of the day. Some hospitals require this person to come with you to the colonoscopy and even be available to hear the the results of your procedure.
Obviously, this person should be someone you trust. And for liability reasons, the hospital can’t release you into the care of a random Uber driver. You could only get away with taking Uber or public transit home if your friend or family member went with you.
Why does it matter who drives me home?
First of all, you can’t go back to your normal routine right after a colonoscopy. You need someone that can take care of tasks that require normal reflexes, like cooking, and any tasks that require heavy lifting. If you experience troubling side effects or symptoms after your colonoscopy, this person can help you get to emergency care.
Second of all, colonoscopies aren’t just to screen for cancer. Polyps are growths in your colon that can turn cancerous over time. Your doctor will remove any polyps and abnormal tissue growths that they find during your colonoscopy.
The hospital will not schedule a colonoscopy if you don’t have a friend or family member to drive you home. If you are at a high risk for colon cancer, a month’s delay could be the difference between a positive diagnosis and a negative one.
If your doctor does remove any polyps during the procedure, or if you have polyps that still need to be removed, they will recommend follow-up procedures. You don’t want to put those appointments off any longer than you have to. Ultimately, it’s in your best interest to have someone you know and trust drive you home.
Why does the hospital care?
The (boring) answer to this question is liability. Some hospitals provide shuttle services from residences to the hospital itself, but due to liability reasons, they cannot release you into the care of a stranger after your colonoscopy.
Releasing you before you are considered medically safe—i.e. while you are still under the effects of sedation—is considered medical malpractice. In fact, if the hospital releases you into the care of an Uber driver, who then has a car accident and injures you, you could sue both the driver and the hospital for medical malpractice. Obviously it is in the hospital’s best interest to release you into the care of a trusted family member or friend.
If you or someone you know was released prematurely or into the care of a stranger after a colonoscopy, you could have grounds for a medical malpractice claim. Our medical malpractice attorneys can help you decide how to proceed. Give us a call or contact us online for a free conversation about your claim.