Are you preparing for surgery? One preparation you need to make is planning your ride home. If you don’t have a family member or friend to drive you home, you may ask whether you can drive yourself or whether you can take a cab home after surgery.
The short answer to these questions is no. You cannot drive or take a cab after a surgery that requires anesthesia or sedation. A Florida medical malpractice lawyer discusses reasons why not below and alternative solutions.
Can I drive home after surgery in Florida?
Many factors will determine when you can safely drive again after surgery. For example, the type of surgery, your age, health, anesthesia, and recovery time.
You cannot drive home after any surgery requiring general, monitored, or regional anesthesia. In addition to typical side effects of anesthesia that make it impossible to drive (nausea, confusion, memory loss, and dizziness), many people have additional adverse effects from anesthesia, such as vomiting and numbness or paralysis. Due to these negative and potentially dangerous side effects, patients should not drive or operate dangerous machinery for 24 to 48 hours afterward.
Postoperative delirium is another potential side effect of anesthesia. Common characteristics of postoperative delirium include confusion, disorientation, short-term memory loss, and trouble focusing after surgery. Generally, postoperative delirium can last a few hours up to a few days after surgery.
If you drive after anesthesia, you may be arrested for driving under the influence. Similarly, if you take sedatives after surgery and you get pulled over or get in a car accident, you may be arrested for a DUI. Don’t risk your safety and the safety of others.
Can I take a cab home after surgery in Florida?
Since you can’t drive yourself home after surgery, you may ask, “Can I take a cab home after surgery?” If a family member, friend, or nurse accompanies you, then you can take a taxi home. However, you cannot take a cab unaccompanied after outpatient surgery.
You should not use a cab for outpatient surgery transportation for a couple of reasons, including:
1. Healthcare Facilities Do Not Release Unaccompanied Outpatient Surgery Patients
If you’ve been under anesthesia or sedation, you need to leave with someone who is responsible for you and will monitor you. Hospitals and surgery centers have legal procedures that require a responsible adult to accompany a patient.
You also can’t leave with a stranger, such as a taxi driver. Allowing a compromised patient to leave the hospital alone to get in a cab opens the healthcare facility up to medical malpractice lawsuits.
2. Cabs Are Not Equipped for Non-Emergency Medical Transport
Many patients who have outpatient surgery may rely on medical devices after surgery. Common medical devices may include but are not limited to:
- Casts or braces
- Stretcher beds
Some taxis may meet limited ADA compliance, but most are not equipped to transport patients who rely on these medical devices.
Additionally, most taxi drivers have little or no training or experience in transporting people who may need special accommodations due to medical conditions or disabilities.
Use a Non-Emergency Medical Transportation Service
Our Florida medical malpractice attorneys know it can be overwhelming if you don’t have a family member or trusted friend available to pick you up after surgery. If you’re in this situation, consider using a non-emergency medical transportation service.
Non-emergency medical transportation companies transport individuals to or from medical appointments or outpatient procedures in non-emergency situations. Medical transportation drivers have training and experience assisting people with disabilities and special medical devices.
There are many outpatient surgery transportation services in West Palm Beach and the surrounding areas. A couple of non-emergency medical transportation services that may be available in your area include:
- Amera Solutions. Amera Solutions is a medical transportation company with services in Miami. It provides local and long-distance outpatient surgery transportation.
- H&S Personal Car Service. H&S is a personal car service that provides non-emergency medical transportation, including for individuals after outpatient surgery. It has locations in West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, and Boynton Beach.
In cases when emergency transportation is necessary, LifeFlight® Critical Care Transport may be available to you. Based in Miami, LifeFlight® Critical Care Transport provides advanced life support and critical care transportation to neonatal patients, infants, children, and adults.
Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath Is Here for You
Were you or a loved one discharged while unaccompanied or to a stranger after outpatient surgery? Did you suffer damages as a result? If so, you may have legal grounds for a medical malpractice claim.
Reach out to a Florida medical malpractice lawyer from our firm to discuss your situation. Our West Palm Beach medical malpractice attorneys are here to answer your legal questions and help you understand your potential legal options.
Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath provides a free, confidential consultation to discuss your case. Call us at (561) 655-1990, chat with us, or send us a message to schedule your consultation.
Our attorneys represent individuals and families throughout South Florida with offices in West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, and Port St. Lucie.