Judge Douglas McKeon of New York City has taken a new approach to settling medical malpractice cases, something he likes to call “humaneness”. By quietly listening to heartbroken victims of medical malpractice or their families, Judge McKeon believes that he can resolve medical liability cases and even get doctors to admit to their mistakes instead of covering them up.
Judge McKeon may have caught onto something very important: the Obama administration is taking notice of Judge McKeon’s approach and is spending $3 million to see if his methods of resolving medical malpractice suits could work on a larger scale. In fact, the New York state court system is one of twenty recent recipients of federal grants aimed at finding answers to such problems as getting doctors to admit medical malpractice while protecting clinicians who follow best practices and still have something go wrong. Currently, the main goals that the Obama administration wants to accomplish include preventing injuries to patients, reducing lawsuit costs and lengthy trials, and discouraging doctors from ordering unnecessary tests or procedures to “protect” themselves from medical malpractice suits.
Judge McKeon has worked hard to develop his approach. For example, he has sat in on medical school anatomy classes to gain clinical knowledge to help him evaluate medical malpractice cases, he reads medical journal articles regularly, and keeps notes of new terminology. By cultivating his own knowledge of the medical field, and taking a patient and compassionate tone with victims of medical malpractice and their families, Judge McKeon has been very successful in getting fair settlements and providing the justice these families deserve.