Family Awarded $29.5 Million After Actress Daughter Suffers Brain Damage from Pretzel

One hundred dollar notes are seen in this photo illustration at a bank in Seoul January 9, 2013. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

A jury awarded $29.5 million this week to a family whose adult daughter suffered brain damage in 2013 once she was treated for a severe allergic reaction by MedicWest Ambulance.

“At least my daughter will be taken care of. I’m happy about that,” said her father, Jack Giacalone, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“All the anguish that we’ve been through for the last eight years, I’m not happy about. I just hope MedicWest changes their ways,” he noted.

Attorney Christian Morris argued during the trial the MedicWest service negligently treated Chantel Giacalone’s reaction.

“In February 2013, Chantel Giacalone took a bite out of a pretzel infused with peanut butter while in Las Vegas for a convention. Afterward, the then-27-year-old aspiring actress and model went into anaphylactic shock,” the Review-Journal article read.

The young woman, who did not know the pretzel contained peanut butter, lost oxygen to her brain for a few minutes after she sought treatment from MedicWest Ambulance, the service running the medic station the day the incident occurred.

The Review-Journal report continued:

Morris had argued that neither of the two medics on-site that day had IV epinephrine — an adrenaline treatment for severe allergic reactions that is required by the Southern Nevada Health District. The requirement was established by a task force that MedicWest sits on, according to testimony and arguments.  Morris said the medics only had intramuscular epinephrine in their bags — which they did deploy — but the IV is required for when a patient is going into full anaphylaxis.

“The attorney argued that the cost of the drug was only $2.42. She asked the jury for more than $60 million in damages for past and future medical expenses, as well as past and future pain and emotional suffering,” the outlet said.

However, MedicWest has reportedly denied any wrongdoing and claimed Giacalone never lost consciousness while its medics cared for her.

But Jack commented, “The truth came out. Because what happened in that room was nothing. They let my daughter linger,” he alleged.

Jack and his wife provide round-the-clock care to their quadriplegic daughter, who lives in their dining room, must be fed through a tube, and is only able to communicate with her eyes.

“I don’t know how Chantel didn’t die. But she lived for a reason,” her dad stated.

According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, anaphylaxis symptoms include hives, itching, low blood pressure, constriction of airways, weak and rapid pulse, nausea, dizziness, or fainting.


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