Meanwhile in Vegas: Model Brain-Damaged After Eating Pretzel Awarded $29.5 Million (But Did the Prosecutor Check to See If She Wasn’t Damaged the Evening Prior?)

Models aren’t known for their smarts, but one Vegas model recently got the payout of her life – essentially putting the worth of her brain at a whopping $29.5 million.

Her name is Chantel Giacalone, and you may recognize the aspiring actress from roles in The Butterfly Effect 3: Revelations and the web series Hollow Walls (but you probably won’t, because both are pretty obscure).

Back in 2013, at age 27, she was modeling clothes at a fashion trade show at the Mandalay Bay South Convention Center. A friend treated her to a frozen yogurt, adding a bite-sized pretzel on top for pizzaz, not realizing that it was filled with peanut butter, to which Giacalone is allergic.

One bite sent her into anaphylactic shock, and she lost oxygen to her brain for several minutes. EMTs from MedicWest Ambulance tried to treat her with intramuscular epinephrine, but the treatment was insufficient. Now 35, Giacalone is a quadriplegic, uses a feeding tube, and can only communicate with her eyes. Her parents currently care for her 24/7.

Photo: Nettles Morris Law Firm

The lawsuit argued that the paramedics should have used IV epinephrine, the treatment required by the Southern Nevada Health District for patients in full anaphylaxis. A jury agreed the paramedics were negligent and awarded Giacalone’s family the massive settlement, which will allow her to receive more specialized care.

It’s hard to believe one little pretzel could ruin a woman’s life. Sadly, this tragedy probably made Giacalone more money than she ever would have netted as a model or actress. We could make an insensitive joke about whether or not models can truly suffer brain damage, but severe peanut allergies – and the fate that befell Giacalone because of it – is no laughing matter.

Cover Photo: Beck Starr / Contributor (Getty Images)

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