The ProspectiveDoctor Podcast

How to Avoid Medical Malpractice

Dr. Erkeda DeRouen talks to Dr. Laura Fortner, a board certified OB/GYN with 21 years of experience. She is also a certified life coach who helps physicians overcome adverse events and medical malpractice. They talk about how to cope with emotional stress that comes from lawsuits and traumatic medical cases.

  • [01:04] Introducing Dr. Laura Fortner
  • [05:26] Medical Malpractice is Real
  • [09:25] Coping with Distress
  • [12:25] How Coaching Can Help with PTSD
  • [18:15] Quick Ways to Overcome Triggers
  • [23:03] How to Prevent Malpractice Lawsuits

Medical Malpractice Lawsuits Happen

There is a high likelihood that physicians, most especially surgeons, will get sued at least once. A medical malpractice lawsuit can shake your confidence, leaving you with a lot of doubts about your competence. Unfortunately, there is very little training or support for physicians to help them navigate this challenging process.

Coaching Can Help with PTSD

PTSD can be addressed through coaching, with the added benefit of being discreet. Coaching sessions are not charted in any way so you don’t have to be worried about it appearing on your medical record. If a traumatic event affects you to this day, you can engage in memory reconsolidation, stress relief, and thought work with a coach.

Manage your Distress

Whenever you feel frustrated, upset, or angry, you can stop negative self-talk by staring at a wall or object. Fix your eyes but try to look using your peripheral vision. This trick can help shut off your thoughts so you don’t reinforce the negativity you already feel. Another thing you can try is a mini meditation. Oftentimes, we feel out of sorts because we try to resist reality. Take deep breaths through your belly. On your third or fourth breath, say “I accept what is happening and I release all resistance to it.” This might seem like an insignificant practice, but you’ll be surprised by how much better you’ll feel afterwards.

Avoid Medical Malpractice

The #1 reason why physicians get sued is because patients feel like their doctors are not transparent with them. Patients will also tend to seek counsel if they don’t feel heard. They want to know that physicians are willing to learn from their mistakes or to make changes to better the system. Knowing this, doctors should be more empathetic towards their patients. At times, listening is preferred over speaking. Try to see things from your patient’s perspective and form a human connection with them. Little gestures like a handshake, shoulder pat, or even eye contact can show that you truly care.


You can reach Dr. Laura Fortner through her LinkedIn. To learn more about her coaching services and to join the waitlist for Healthcare Hero Healing Circle, visit

To learn more about how MedSchoolCoach can help you along your medical school journey, visit us at Prospective Doctor. You can also reach us through our social media:


Dr. Erkeda’s Instagram:


Erkeda DeRouen

Dr. Erkeda DeRouen is a graduate of Hampton University with a B.S. in Biological Sciences, followed by completing medical school at the Boston University School of Medicine. She then completed residency at The University of Maryland Family and Community Medicine Program. After that, she worked at an underserved community health center, and currently is an Associate Medical Director of a telemedicine company. She recently became one of the first 1,000 lifestyle medicine certified physicians in the world! Her areas of interest include: health equity and eliminating health disparities, service of underserved populations, HIV management, transgender care, mentorship, and lifestyle medicine.

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