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An Israeli court ordered insurer Clalit to pay 15 million shekels in punitive damages for alleged negligence because a gynecologist examining a pregnant woman failed to suggest testing for a very rare disease, which led to her giving birth to stillborn baby.

This is the bane of the US medical system, where doctors test for everything out of fear of negligence claims. In reality, medical work always involves risk, and running to avoid marginal hazards greatly increase the costs and inconvenience for the vast majority of the population.

The Clalit case will push hospitals to conduct unreasonably extensive testing and drive up medical costs for all Israelis.

February 2012
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