Family awarded $38m after model, 27, is brain damaged by pretzel

The Associated Press
·2-min read

The family of an actress and model who suffered brain damage after eating a pretzel have been awarded more than A$38 million.

Chantel Giacalone, 35, went into anaphylactic shock after biting into a pretzel infused with peanut butter while in Las Vegas for a convention in 2013, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

Ms Giacalone's lawyer, Christian Morris, said she lost oxygen to her brain for a period of minutes after seeking treatment from MedicWest Ambulance, which was running the medic station that day.

Chantel Giacalone is pictured.
Chantel Giacalone suffered brain damage after eating peanut butter by accident. Source: Instagram/ Chantel Giacalone

Mr Morris argued in a civil lawsuit that MedicWest Ambulance negligently treated her allergic reaction.

She 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.

According to testimony during a three-week trial, the requirement was established by a task force the company sits on.

Ms Morris said the medics instead deployed intramuscular epinephrine, but IVs are required for full anaphylaxis.

She argued the cost of the drug was only $3.15. The lawsuit was seeking more than $78 million in damages for medical expenses and emotional suffering.

Actress Chantel Giacalone attends
Ms Giacalone pictured in 2011. Source: Getty Images

MedicWest denied any wrongdoing and said the outcome was inevitable because of Ms Giacalone's heightened sensitivity to peanuts. Attorney William Drury argued Ms Giacalone never lost consciousness.

Her dad Jack Giacalone said “at least” his daughter will be taken care of.

“I’m happy about that,” he said after the verdict was read on Friday.

“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.”

Mr Giacalone and his wife provide around the clock care for their daughter who lives with them in their Detroit home.

She remains bedridden and while she can still communicate Ms Giacalone and can't walk or speak.

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