A jury has awarded $29.5 million to a family of a woman who’s been left brain-damaged after being treated for a severe allergic reaction by an ambulance service in Las Vegas in 2013.
Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that aspiring actress and model Chantel Giacalone, who was 27 at the time, went into anaphylactic shock after biting into a pretzel infused with peanut butter while in Las Vegas for a convention.
Chantel is now a quadriplegic and lives in her parent’s dining room where they give her 24-hour care.
She can only communicate with her eyes and has to be fed through a tube.
Giacalone’s lawyer, Christian Morris, said she lost oxygen to her brain for minutes after seeking treatment from MedicWest Ambulance, which was running the medic station that day.
Christian Morris argued in a civil lawsuit that MedicWest Ambulance negligently treated her allergic reaction, and he explained 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.
According to testimony during a three-week trial, the requirement was established by a task force the company sits on.
Christian Morris said the medics instead used intramuscular epinephrine, but IVs are needed for full anaphylaxis, and he argued that the price of the medication was only $2.42.
The lawsuit was seeking more than $60 million in damages for medical expenses and emotional distress, but MedicWest dismissed any wrongdoing and said the outcome was inevitable because of Giacalone’s heightened sensitivity to peanuts.
Attorney William Drury argued Giacalone never lost consciousness.
Father Jack Giacalone said after the verdict was delivered on Friday that at least his daughter would be taken care of and that he was happy about that, and he said that all the agony that they’d been through for the last eight years, he was not thrilled about and that he hoped MedicWest changed their ways.
Giacalone had roles in productions such as the 2009 movie ‘The Butterfly Effect 3: Revelations’, ‘Hollow Walls’, and ‘Skyler’.
Her father added that before attending the trial he told his daughter not to worry and that the truth would come out, and that they were finally going to find out what happened to her that day.
He said that she began crying, and he said that she’s still in there, she still has emotions, and she’s crying.
Her reaction was so severe that a full IV was needed, and that is supposed to be on hand, but it wasn’t! And she ended up with brain damage, and no amount of money can fix or compensate for that.
No one can perceive the pain her parents and family have been through. The money is enough for her to be cared for, but it’s never enough for the life long emotional cost to those who love her.