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As new technologies develop to improve patient safety and reduce medical errors, a new study by Consumer Reports found that the amount of respect patients receive in the hospital is linked to the number of preventable medical errors experienced, suggesting that patients will have better medical outcomes if they feel the hospital staff has treated them with respect.

What constitutes “respect?” Things like a doctor avoiding medical jargon and explaining medical issues to patients in plain English, or trusting that a patient can make his or her own decisions.

Knowing that a staggering 400,000 patients die each year as a result of preventable medical errors, patient safety experts urge those receiving treatment to take an active role in preventing medical negligence by becoming involved and informed participants on their health care team.

In cases of medical malpractice, there is only so much a patient can do to prevent an adverse event from occurring, but we encourage you to be assertive in your health care, expressing your concerns, needs, and expectations clearly to help reduce the chances of something going wrong.