LAS VEGAS (AP) — A jury has awarded $29.5 million to the family of a woman who was left brain damaged after being treated for a severe allergic reaction by an ambulance service in Las Vegas in 2013.
Then-27-year-old Chantel Giacalone went into anaphylactic shock after biting into a pretzel infused with peanut butter while in Las Vegas for a convention, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Friday. Giacalone, an aspiring actor, had roles in “The Butterfly Effect 3: Revelations” and the web series “Hollow Walls.”
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.
Morris argued in a civil lawsuit that MedicWest Ambulance negligently treated her allergic reaction.
He 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.
Morris said the medics instead deployed intramuscular epinephrine, but IVs are required for full anaphylaxis.
He argued the cost of the drug was only $2.42. The lawsuit was seeking more than $60 million in damages for medical expenses and emotional suffering.
MedicWest denied any wrongdoing and said the outcome was inevitable because of Giacalone’s heightened sensitivity to peanuts. Attorney William Drury argued Giacalone never lost consciousness.
“At least my daughter will be taken care of. I’m happy about that,” father Jack Giacalone 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.”
Jack Giacalone and his wife provide 24-hour care to their quadriplegic daughter, who has to be fed through a tube and can only communicate with her eyes, according to the Review-Journal.
Hayley Miller contributed reporting.