The family of a model who was left brain-damaged after having a serious allergic reaction to a peanut butter-infused pretzel was awarded nearly $30 million by a Las Vegas jury.

Chantel Giacalone’s family was awarded the $29.5 million Friday when a jury found that the responding ambulance service negligently treated her in 2013, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

“At least my daughter will be taken care of. I’m happy about that,” her father, Jack Giacalone, said after the verdict was read.

On Feb. 20, 2013, then-27-year-old Giacalone was modeling clothes at a fashion trade show at the Mandalay Bay South Convention Center when her friend bought her frozen yogurt and put a bite-size pretzel on top.

Giacalone, an aspiring actress, went into anaphylactic shock after taking a bite.

Her 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.

During the three-week civil trial, Morris argued that neither of the two medics on site that day had IV epinephrine, an adrenaline treatment for severe allergic reactions required by the Southern Nevada Health District.

The medics only had intramuscular epinephrine in their bags, which they used on Giacalone — but IVs are required when a patient is going into full anaphylaxis.

“Every minute of Chantel’s life has been inextricably altered,” Morris said in court. “Every single minute since she walked into that medic room to a company that chose profits over patient care.”

MedicWest denied any wrongdoing and said the outcome was inevitable because of Giacalone’s heightened sensitivity to peanuts.

But, her dad said, “The truth came out. Because what happened in that room was nothing. They let my daughter linger.”

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

At the time of the incident, Chantel had been launching her acting career, with roles in the 2009 thriller “The Butterfly Effect 3: Revelations” and the web series “Hollow Walls.”

Now 35, she is quadriplegic, has to be fed through a tube and can only communicate with her eyes, according to the Review-Journal.

Her parents provide Chantel with 24-hour care. They said the money from the lawsuit will be invested in her future care and a new home that is more conducive to her needs.

10 thoughts on “Model Becomes Brain-Damaged from Eating Pretzels – Awarded Millions”
  1. Are these people really this stupid, nobody didn’t force her to eat pretzels, and the idiots say the pretzels caused this drug head to get brain dead, and what idiot would award money to these freeloaders the start with, this sounds like a bunch of brain dead demonRATS.

    1. Are you for real??? Making statements about something you know nothing about?? Typical republican, spreading “ conspiracy theories “, and hurting the parents of this poor girl, who have to see their daughter go through this tragic event. Go crawl back under your rock.

      1. Did the model know she had an allergy to peanuts? Did her parents or other relatives know this? Did any of her friends know tnis? Did her employer or co-workers know this? Sometimes an allergy isn’t discovered unless a sudden, violent attack occurs. An ambulance should always carry epinephrine for this kind of medical emergency.

    2. I was wondering about that myself..I’ve been eating pretzels for 65 years and nothing happened…Except, that I ate a whole bag and got sick without drinking anything…

  2. I do not see why it was the responsibility of MedicWest to have the drug on had that she needed. If she has that violent of a reaction to peanuts, why did she not have an epi-pen on hand? I am sure she knows of her reaction and should be prepared to reverse it. It was her responsibility, not MedicWest.

  3. I disagree with the two above comments.

    First of all how did she know the peanut had peanut butter in it, which is the substance she is allergic too. She did not know. A pretzel looks like a pretzel, nothing more.

    Secondly, perhaps her allergy to peanut butter was not so severe for her to keep an epipen on her for emergencies. And from the description of this young lady, she was “No Druggy” but just a young woman enjoying a celebratory dessert.

    Thirdly, that Medical Center WAS AT FAULT for not recognizing the severity of her condition. Aniphalactic shock shuts down your breathing and things go South quickly. She definitely needed an IV epinephrine drip to bring her system back to a normal state. The drip immediately gets in her blood/system and normalizes her body’s functions…FAST!

    Those precious minutes that lapsed while the EMTs tried to figure out what to do caused this young lady her quality of life. When she was rolled in, there would have been immediate signs that would have alerted any high qualified EMT that she needed oxygen. Those EMTs were at fault and that Medical Center should have been “stocked” with IV Epinephrine Drips…and it was not.

    Sorry, but the EMTs on call that day did not evaluate her medical condition fast enough nor did the Medical Center have the “vital” supplies to immediately help that young woman. Her “QUALITY OF LIFE” was destroyed that day — and it wasn’t because of what she was eating but because the people who were supposed to save her — did not help her fast enough — so her brain was oxygen deprived long enough to destroy her speech, her ability to eat like a normal person and is stuck in a wheel chair the rest of her life. I’d sue that Medical Group too for robbing my daughter of her hopes and dreams.

    1. I agree with you. If those who don’t were in her situation they or their families would be pretty angry for not receiving an acceptable standard of care. One would expect emergency personnel to have more than an epi pen equivalent….

    2. I agree with you. If those who don’t were in her situation they or their families would be pretty angry for not receiving an acceptable standard of care. One would expect emergency personnel to have more than an epi pen equivalent on hand…..

  4. Correction on my above comment:
    2nd sentence from the top, 9th word in should read “PRETZEL” not peanut.

    This article brought back some scary memories with my own young daughter of 15 years old. She has an allergy to walnuts AND peanuts, which we did not know yet. I got a call at work and her friend said she was lying on the floor trying to breathe. I drove home so fast, grabbed her and went straight to the Emergency Room — she had eaten some Mixed Nuts and collapsed. We walked up to the Reception area and the attendant immediately called for assistance. I didn’t even get to give my contact info before they immediately rushed her away. Her lips were blue and she was struggling for air. They hit her with a shot of adrenalin and immediately put her on a breathing machine and then gave her one more shot of adrenalin. All this because she could not breathe. Diagnose & Act!

    They didn’t do epinephrine IVs then, but the Receptionist was a nurse too and when she took one look at my daughter, she saw someone in need of immediate attention, which my daughter got. AND, the ER waiting room was packed, with people standing because all the seats were filled. But the people in charge knew what they were looking at and IMMEDIATELY went to work to save her! That’s what is supposed to happen in Emergency Rooms…save the patient no matter what!

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