Chantel Giacalone, a model, and her family were awarded $29.5 million after being treated negligently by medics in 2013, leaving her paralyzed for life.
Chantel Giacalone suffered an anaphylactic shock on February 20, 2013, after taking a bite of a small pretzel brought to her by a friend while modeling during a fashion show at Mandalay Bay South Convention Center in Las Vegas.
Her sensitivity to peanuts caused a severe reaction to the food, resulting in loss of oxygen to her brain for several minutes.
Emergency medical treatment from MedicWest Ambulance was sought, but the two medics treating her did not have IV epinephrine — a treatment required by the Southern Nevada Health District.
This was a key part of the argument made by lawyer Christian Morris, during the three-week trial, who said the critical treatment for severe allergic reactions should have been available to the patient at the time.
Instead, they had only intramuscular epinephrine available, an insufficient treatment for patients going into full anaphylaxis.
While MedicWest denied any wrongdoing and claimed that the reaction was inevitable since Chantel Giacalone has a peanut allergy, the court ruled that they had acted in a negligent manner.
Morris said that “every single minute” since that moment in 2013 has altered Giacalone’s life forever — the result of a company choosing profit over patient needs.
The attorney said in court: “Every minute of Chantel’s life has been inextricably altered. Every single minute since she walked into that medic room to a company that chose profits over patient care.”
Once a budding actress, with features in The Butterfly Effect 3: Revelations and Hollow Walls, a web series, Giacalone now receives food through a tube and can only communicate using eye movements.
Her father, Jack Giacalone, along with her mother, have been providing around-the-clock care for their daughter and will invest the money awarded by the court into her future care and a new house better suited for her needs.
Jack said he is happy his daughter will be taken care of but spoke of the “anguish” suffered for the last eight years.
Jack explained: “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. I just hope MedicWest changes their ways.”
The case has sparked many reactions online, with an intense debate over what went wrong that day in Las Vegas.