Glam model left brain damaged by allergic reaction to pretzel wins £22m payout


A model who was left brain-damaged after eating a peanut butter-infused pretzel has won a £22m payout after a jury found she was negligibly treated by the responding ambulance.

Chantel Giacalone received $29.5m (£22m) on Friday, April 9 after a jury found a MedicWest Ambulance that came to treat her lack an IV epinephrine, the adrenaline treatment for severe allergic reaction.

Her heartbroken family are delighted that she will be “taken care of” for the rest of her life, but said it took eight years of “anguish” to get to this point.

The 27-year-old went into anaphylactic shock at a Las Vegas convention in February 2013 after Chantel took a bite of a pretzel infused with peanut butter.



Chantel Giacalone
Jack, 70, and his wife Deborah, 59, provide 24-hour care to their quadriplegic daughter

She was then taken to the MedicWest Ambulance station, which was running the medical care station at the convention, where she lost consciousness for a few minutes.

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Chantel was found to have lost oxygen to her brain during this time, causing her paralysis.

Her family’s lawyer Christian Morris argued MedicWest was negligent in lacking the epinephrine treatment needed for allergic reactions, which is required by law by the Southern Nevada Health District.



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Morris said the medics only had intramuscular epinephrine in their bags, which they didn’t use.

MedicWest denied any wrongdoing, saying that Giacalone never lost consciousness while in its care.

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The ambulance’s lawyer, William Drury, said should the jury find the company guilty, $8 million (£5.8m) would be more than enough, not the $60million (£43.7m) Morris asked for.

Drury also argued that Giacalone had a heightened sensitivity to peanuts, making the outcome inevitable.



Chantel Giacalone
Chantel Giacalone

Speaking after the judgement, Chantel’s father said the “truth came out” during the hearing, claiming staff let his daughter “linger”.

Jack, 70, and his wife Deborah, 59, provide 24-hour care to their quadriplegic daughter, who can only communicate through her eyes.

Deborah said: “I don’t want her to go anywhere else. I love her, and she loves me.

“It’s very hard to take care of her, but I would not have it any other way.”

Chantel’s room is currently in the dining room and the couple said they will use a portion of the funds to purchase a new home with better mobility.

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