Smith, Meier & Webb, LPA

Could demanding respect from a doctor result in better treatment?

It seems like respect is something that people should give each other freely. As we all know however, this is not the way things always work. At times, to get it, you have to demand it—even from your doctor.

A recent study indicates that those who have a hard time doing this might want to try to muster the energy to do so. According to the study, doing this could have an impact on the treatment you receive. It found that those who believed they usually did not get respect from those who work in a hospital, were more than twice as likely to be the victim of a medical error that was preventable, as compared to those who believed they were treated with respect. The study was conducted by Consumer Reports.

In the study, patient’s derived respect by making sure that health care providers listened to their concerns. Since health care providers are often taught to hold themselves above others, it is not always easy to for them to give respect. There are things that patients can do to make it easier however. These things include knowing when medical errors are most likely to happen, writing things down, having people with you to ask questions and hear responses, and making sure you understand what the doctor is saying. Viewing the relationship as a partnership could help as well. Sharing personal information about your life via a conversation is a way to do this.

While this approach could have an impact on the number of medical mistakes that occur, these events will likely still happen. In some situations a medical malpractice lawsuit may be appropriate.

Source:, "Consumer Reports Study: Demanding Respect From Doctors May Save Your Life," Robert J. Szczerba, January 19, 2015

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