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Added Apr 08 2017

Does anyone know of any services that provide this in Chicago? All the ones I've seen online are or ambulatory care or geared toward people with disabilities or senior citizens. I'm neither. I'm having a small surgical procedure done under anesthesia and I need to find someone to pick me up. I don't have any family locally and no one else that is able to help. The surgery center will not allow me to use an Uber or taxi and want me to provide a name of someone they can call when I am ready to be released. I'm looking for services similar to these two (links below) but neither are in Chicago. I don't need any special car or services. With the size of the city, you'd think they'd have something here but I can't find anything. As I start to get older, I do worry that I'll need this more often. Any ideas are appreciated.

  • Are you saying this service Appointment Companions is in Atlanta but not something like it in Chicago?

    Have you tried Task Rabbit? They might have people that provide this. Also, try to contact a home health agency - one that provides CNA's as caretakers to homes (we've used Apple Home Health, but there are a zillion of these in Chicago) to see if they can provide someone or refer you to a service that does this.

    Let us know what you find out. It would be good to know businesses that provide this here.

  • robin in WRP I support a 28th Amendment 4Free & Fair Elections!

    I would try social services agencies, and the doctor performing the procedure

  • Chigirl Albany Parker

    You can have them call a friend who will then in turn get you an Uber.

  • Is this being done at a hospital? A lot of them have transportation services.

  • Bville Cat Lady "Stop whining and find something to do" ~ Violet C

    None of Sha's local friends are available to be there, and...

    Many hospitals do for normal doctor and physical therapy appointments. But it doesn't solve the issue that an adult, not affiliated with the hospital, must go inside the hospital to check the person out.


    I was in a similar situation a couple years ago. Skokie hospital was absolutely no help and I was very surprised that they weren't. There must be a lot of people who have this issue. Skokie would not perform the procedure unless my "caretaker" was there during check in.

    A friend offered to use a vacation day from work, but I had a retired relative come from 4 hours away.

    I know someone who paid $50+cab fare to an acquaintance (the guy who owned the laundry mat he frequented).

  • If it's not too early, I'll come and pick you up. This is ridiculous.

  • Yes, it is really difficult if you are either a single person or don't have someone available during the day. The world seems to assume that everyone can find someone who will come to pick you up who is available during the day - ie doesn't work! I have also faced this problem, and the hospitals/medical centers have no solutions.
    Some enterprising person should start a service for people who need someone to do this!

  • @Karen L in Albany Park: I agree. I wonder if there are any liability issues to consider.

  • Sha

    Thank you to all that replied.

    Karen L - exactly! It is much harder then it should be. I am surprised a city the size of Chicago doesn't have this type of service available. I only found those other two links while doing a google search. I had Chicago in my search criteria, but I guess it pulled them up because it matched my other search words. Maybe someone will see this and start a business for the next time those of us need it. What if I had the big C and needed weekly treatments or something?

    Bville - you are correct about both. It's supposed to be a very light anesthesia so I don't anticipate being out of it when I leave and had planned to call an uber anyway. But a friend would still need to come and release me regardless, even if they don't go home with me, which still leaves me without a plan.

    To answer other questions - its being done in a surgery center, not a hospital. I plan to call them tomorrow to see if they have any suggestions, but I'm not optimistic. I did ask my Dr and she said I must have friends or family that can help. I think most don't understand that not everyone has people. My family live in another country and my closest friends are out of state. I am single. I don't feel comfortable asking people I work with as its personal and we are not that close. The remaining friends I have in the city have difficult jobs where they can't easily take time off of work. And honestly, I don't have a ton of friends here. That may be hard for most to understand, but its a reality for some people. Taskrabbit does not have this service - I did actually check that already even though I knew it was probably a long shot.

    Tami - thank you for the offer. That is very sweet and neighborly, although I'm still hoping I can resolve it another way.

  • Put in a Google search engine:

    Chicago medical transportation service non emergency -ambulance

    I found several but the limo might be costly. Good luck!

  • Sha

    Yes, I saw some of those. None seem to have reviews. I called one and they were no help. The second didn't even return my message. Plus, my Dr told me someone has to pick me up, even if I chose a car service (which those transport services essentially are). I'm hoping she is wrong and I'll find out when I call the surgery center tomorrow. If that's the case, I'd rather just do a taxi or uber/lyft, but I'd still need someone to get me out.

  • Please message me if you need help.

  • What I have been told is that when you come out of the anesthesia, you are very suggestible and someone could take you to an ATM and make you withdraw money l, for example. :(

    I agree it is very difficult. The only suggestion surgicenters have ever given me are those medivans that ferry wheelchair patients around. Probably expensive.

  • As someone who works in an operating room, I can guarantee they will cancel your procedure if you don't have a responsible adult to accompany you home. There have been instances of people after anesthesia (even "light sedation") who are dropped off at the wrong house by a cab or Uber and then have sued the hospital and physician they had the procedure with- claiming negligence for discharging a patient that was unaccompanied. The Surgicenter will confirm tomorrow that you absolutely have to have someone with you.

  • I'd be happy to assist as well.

  • Sha - Depending on the day/hour, I might be able to help you out as well.
    I know how hard this is.

  • I am a Daily Money Manager which means I take care of the financial activities of busy professionals and the elderly. I have contacts with people in various areas of eldercare. I suggest you call Gail Niksic at Elderwerks. 847-877-8215. She is their community resource consultant.
    Good luck.

  • Maria de la Rosa-Young Gardener and coffee lover

    Sha, if you belong to a church perhaps a church member can help you. I know that the Chicago Catholic Archdiocese provides many services to people in need even if the person is not a member of the church.

  • Get registered with Para Transit 1-(800)606-1282. It's a door to door pick up service only $3.00 a ride

  • Here is the number to an operations manager at MV Transportation garage (773)920-2166. But call the number I posted earlier for an application to apply for para- transit service

  • Sha

    Thank you everyone.
    Rose - I'm not disabled so I can't use a para transit service.
    cash - I'm not elderly so I can't use an eldercare service.
    Maria - I'm not religious so I don't belong to a church.

    Basically - I'm just single! Which seems like its some weird anomaly or something. I feel like if you are under 25 or 30 the assumption is you have parents that will help. If you are over 30 you are expected to be married or dating and have extended family from that. Not everyone does and not everyone has a ton of friends nearby.

    Anyway, thank you everyone. I started this thread in hopes there was a service comparable to the links I listed (which are from other cities) that I was unaware of, but its obvious there isn't anything in Chicago. I do hope some entrepreneur starts a similar service that is obviously needed here in the city sometime in the near future. ag76 is correct - they want an adult to accompany me home - or at least out of the surgery center, which is all they can dictate. Which means a basic car pickup service of any kind (even the ones suggested) would not suffice if I am alone with them - at least according to the nurse. At the moment my friend is checking if she can move around her schedule, otherwise I'm going to have to cancel it and do it another month. Not ideal, but I have no other choice. I appreciate all of the offers to help. Even though I would feel rather uncomfortable asking anyone I've never met to do this (even though I would offer to pay), it is nice to know there is still kindness in strangers. The difference with a paid service is they would presumably be boned, insured, reference checked etc in case I am out of it. Frankly, I don't know why it would be all that much different than a car service, but I don't make the rules.

    Thanks again all.

  • Sha^ Very sorry you're experiencing this and have few resources to call upon. You're right, there should be a service available that doesn't put a "do it or cancel" onus on you when you require surgery. I've done this for friends who are single and whose other friends couldn't (or wouldn't) avail themselves at 7 a.m. In one case, when complications arose two weeks after surgery, the surgeon told the patient he'd explained a particular bit of aftercare to "your friend" -- meaning ME (while she was hallucinating post op) -- which was absolutely not true. Surgery centers should send an information sheet home with patients that details such things, but that one didn't.
    Imagine if my friend hadn't trusted me over the surgeon when I flatly denied the surgeon shared any such instruction with me...
    That incident makes me wonder about the liability aspect for services that would fill this need.

  • Hi Sha,. I had the same problem last year. Tried getting out of Northwestern Memorial's surgicenter with "oh,my friend is waiting downstairs". They ended up sending me home in a medicar from Superior Ambulance. Cost $50. You might check the websites, or call, local services and ask if they could do this. On the websites look for "courtesy van", "medicar", etc. Here's two to try:

  • Per NW-Sider: It seems the hospital/surgical center knows it has liability if they simply release you to your own devices. That suggests to me that whoever does escort you out and home picks up that liability...meaning if something should happen such as a fall on the way into the house, or maybe even some sort of complication that the patient could not handle on their own (bleeding? unconsciousness?) that the escort might be liable to be sued (not that Sha would do this, but just that it's possible).

    I wonder if the best thing would be to hire a Home Health Care company to assign a certified nursing assistant to be the escort.

    Anyway, this raises a concern for anyone who is living alone and doesn't have someone nearby to help them out. Something to think about.

  • Interesting point, Beeb. I suspect that a friend or relative, who assists you as a person who is not trained medically, would be considered a "good samaritan" if something went wrong and they had to drive you back to the medical facility, or call 911 or whatever. Any lawyers out there??

  • Joan M. Back in Lincoln Square and liking it.

    Really interesting topic. Thanks for the discussion.

  • Sorry to revive an old topic, but it came up as first result in a Google search. (Go, B!)

    I am in a similar situation. I was hoping to find a service to accompany me to doctor appointments. I also stumbled onto that service in Atlanta, and wish someone would start that type of service here. I'm disabled and need help getting to and from, with a (bulky) walker.

    Sha, if you see this, did you find a resolution?

    I have been lurking at, and have bookmarked providers that have what I'd consider "kind faces" and "comforting profiles". For anyone in this type of situation, might be an option (however, it is a pay service). From what I can tell, you'd have to secure a provider with ample time.

    I hope you were able to get the situation remedied, Sha!

  • I meant to type, "Go, EB!"

  • robin in WRP I support a 28th Amendment 4Free & Fair Elections!

    Tracy - start by contacting your insurance company; they may have a free or discounted program. You may also qualify for the Pace service ($3.00 per ride).

  • Thank you for your reply, Robin! I do currently get Pace service, but I was hoping to find someone who can take me to the appointment, wait with me (and accompany me in the appointment if need be), then take me home.

    Pace is wonderful for transportation, but the way their system works, you have to tell them pickup time going there (no problem) and pickup time for return trip. The return trip is difficult given doctors are rarely on time, and there's no way to predict length of office visit. So quoting them a pickup time with ample leeway where the visit will definitely be finished, can result in sitting outside for a very long time waiting for the pickup. Or even missing it if something weird happens causing the visit to be crazy long. (You also get dinged for missing a pickup -- 3 "no shows" and they will ban you from the service.)

    Pace is outstanding for activities that have a controllable time, like going to a friend's house or to a movie, but egads, doctor visits are so unpredictable. :O(

    Looks like Sha also stumbled onto this site, too. Sadly, it's in Atlanta. Seems the closest service we have to this is, but some of their reviews are concerning.

  • Sha

    Sorry for the late reply. I have never heard of and didn't come across them when I had looked. Last year landed up rescheduling based on one friend who was kind enough to take time off of work to do it. She got me out and I took an Uber home- essentially exactly what they didn't want. However, I just recently had another small procedure done that also required someone to pick me up. It was done in Northwestern and they recommended Illinois Medi-Car. It is geared toward people in wheelchairs (and the few reviews are horrible) but I called them and they do have regular cars for non-disabled people. But they don't go past Western Ave. I have no idea why, but even after speaking with a mgr and offering more money, they refused to take me home. I did find another service company called AC MedTran (geared toward wheelchair users as well but also have regular cars) that would take me all the way home. But Northwestern is pretty adamant about using Medi-car as they have a contract with them and I couldn't find anyone to confirm that they would allow me to leave with AC MedTran. So, I did what I had to. I know Lincoln sq pretty well so I randomly picked an address that was a half a block from the Starbucks and gave that address to Medi-Car. They dropped me there after my procedure, I walked to SBUX to get a drink & took an Uber home. So both times I ended up in a Uber after all! Thankfully I was not too loopy after my sedation and made it home just fine, but the whole thing is completely ridiculous.

    In your case, it sounds like the might work. I wasn't needing a companion for a regular appointments, but rather after I've had sedation for small procedures and the hospitals required a name when you arrive or they wouldn't begin. Let me know how worked out for you as I'm sure this won't be the last time I have to deal with this.

  • Sha

    Oh, and the medi-car was crazy unsafe. They were on time and the woman was quite nice, but she didn't have a regular car and came in a wheelchair van. There is only one seat in the back of it for non-disabled people and it had no seatbelt. I was bumping and swinging around in that thing like crazy, hanging on for dear life. Thankfully I wasn't sick from the sedation or that would have been awful. An uber/lyft would have been much safer. And much cheaper I might add - medi-car and the ac medtran were 3 times the price. But in the end, all the hospital cares about is their own liability and you have to do to what they require (IMO). Good luck.

  • I would look at livery services, I used to get a car service often in the past, they pick you up in like a Lincoln town car. I can't remember the name of the company I used.

    you can give instruction for the driver to go to the desk and let them know they are their to pick you up.

  • They won't let you go home in a cab. This is just a fancy name for the same thing.

  • @Jamie, most cab drivers will not get out of the car and go to a doctors office to pick up a fare. a car service with a professional driver will.

  • I will be in the same situation as Sha on this coming Friday, April 27. I will read through the thread but in my situation Northwestern will not give me a surgery time until Thursday between 2 and 5 pm. The only thing I know is that I will have light anesthia and will discharged from Galter Pavillion sometime between 12 pm and 8 pm. I’m not disabled or elderly so those services will not work for me. Any updates will be appreciated. And yes, Chicago needs to join the 21st century and provide or subsidize these services for all medical facilities.

  • robin in WRP I support a 28th Amendment 4Free & Fair Elections!

    Joni - the hospital probably won't do the surgery if you don't have someone with you to take you home. Contact your insurance company to see what services may be covered.

    Good luck, and a speedy recovery!

  • Last week someone contacted me because of this post and asked if I would pick her up from the hospital? She also didn't know what time her procedure started or when she would be finished until that same day. There is a real need for this service and a ton of reasons they want you to have an escort.

    Joni I would pick you up too but I'm crazy busy Friday. Maybe someone works downtown and can ride home with you in an uber?

  • I have to wonder why a dedicated service isn't available -- if it's available for the "elderly" or "disabled" then why not for the general population?!

    There's definitely a need for the service. L.A.-area surgical centers demand the same (patients have a dedicated person/ride awaiting them to get them safely home; not just a taxi/Uber/etc), but no such service exists there. People scurry to find a friend...

    Liability is the key. These medical centers have made these rules to protect themselves from liability. The problem with offering a ride, which I'm also prone to do strictly out of kindness and empathy, is the question of liability should anything happen (a delayed drug reaction, falling unconscious, etc.). That could become a BIG problem for individuals just offering to help. I've heard from reliable sources that liability waivers don't offer the protection they seemingly promise.

  • You also don't want to put someone loopy in a taxi/uber. They could get robbed or worse.

  • future alderman future alderman

    i am going to look into this because i am not only in the same boat as others but think these rules are insane!

  • Question to those seeking assistance: would one solution be to have a person go with you and wait for your release, leave the facility with you and ride along in a taxi/uber/lyft along with you, then go their own way once you're deposited at your door?

  • future alderman future alderman

    sure-but you will have to pay for said service-i hereby offer my services for 50$ plus travel minimum cash-anything over 4 hours 10$ an hour

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