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Ambulance service ordered to pay $29.5M to model who suffered brain damage

The service was sued for reportedly not carrying IV epinephrine to treat the woman’s severe allergic reaction



Brian Niemietz
New York Daily News

LAS VEGAS — The family of model Chantel Giacalone was awarded $29.5 million by a Las Vegas jury that ruled the emergency medical assistance provided in response to an allergic reaction the then-27-year-old woman was experiencing led to brain damage.

Giacalone, who’s now 35, reportedly endured anaphylactic shock triggered by a severe allergic reaction to a peanut butter-filled pretzel she consumed during a 2013 modeling gig at a Las Vegas convention. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that Giacalone’s attorney argued that a MedicWest Ambulance team on the scene was not equipped with IV epinephrine, which is mandated by the Southern Nevada Health District.

MedicWest, which admitted no wrongdoing, reportedly supplied its paramedics with intramuscular epinephrine, but an IV is required for severe reactions like the one Giacalone was experiencing. Their lawyers argued the patient never lost consciousness while being treated by their two-person crew and that her condition was inevitable based on her reaction to the peanut butter she’d consumed.

The Review-Journal reports that Giacalone’s father Jack traveled from the family’s home in Detroit to attend the three-week civil trial. He and Giacalone’s mother provide 24 hours care for their quadriplegic daughter, who lives in the family’s dining room, is fed through a tube and communicates by blinking. She was living in Los Angeles when the incident occurred and had appeared in films including “The Butterfly Effect 3: Revelations” and “Adam,” starring Aaron Paul and Lena Olin.

“At least my daughter will be taken care of. I’m happy about that,” Giacalone’s father said after the verdict was announced. “All the anguish that we’ve been through for the last eight years, I’m not happy about.”

He claimed to have told his daughter before leaving for the trial that the “truth” was going to come out, which caused her to cry.

“She’s still in there,” he said. “She still has emotions.”

The Journal-Review reports that Giacalone is expected to live 20 more years. She is the eldest of three siblings. The nearly $30 million ruling was slightly less than half the compensation Giacalone’s lawyers wanted.


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