Stroke Caused by Yasmin Results in $14 Million Award

strokeStroke victim Mariola Zapalski suffered the severe medical condition caused by Yasmin, but her lawsuit filed because of the medical problem recently resulted in a $14 million award. The suit was filed against the prescribing doctor, Zbigniew Aniol.

The 37-year old Chicago woman who worked as a cleaning lady, said that she started seeing a gynecologist because she and her husband wanted to have a baby. One of Zapalski’s lawyers, Sarah King, said Dr. Aniol prescribed Yasmin to her client on the very first visit that she had with him. Her other attorney Bradley Cosgrove said that Zapalski should not have been taking that particular medication because she had several risk factors including her age, smoking habit, and high cholesterol. King said that Dr. Aniol didn’t know about Zapalski’s other health conditions and the risks associated with the estrogen-based Yasmin. Cosgrove commented that the doctors “should know the risks.”

Zapalski had been taking the birth control pill for 13 days when she suffered the debilitating stroke on her wedding day. She was left with a permanent brain injury and paralyzed on her left side, which requires her to need round-the-clock care. Zapalski is now in a wheelchair, which she will need for the rest of her life. Her husband Rafal Zapalski, 44, had to quit his job as a machinist to be her sole caregiver. “No one should have to go through what we did,” he said. He also said that doctors should be more careful when prescribing dangerous medications to their patients.

Eight years after the stroke was caused by Yasmin, the lawsuit resulted in the Cook County jury awarding Zapalski $14 million. Dr. Aniol offered no comment. According to the Clifford Law Office, in March, a settlement in the amount of $2.5 million was reached with Resurrection Medical Center in the same case.

The birth control pill Yasmin has been under much scrutiny since reports began of the drug causing a number of health problems. It was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2006. By 2009, Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, the leading manufacturer of Yasmin, was forced to clear up misleading ads that led consumers to believe it would clear up acne and treat premenstrual syndrome (PMS). In 2010, lawsuits were filed in Canada claiming that the drug caused an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Gallbladder disease, pulmonary embolism, elevated potassium levels, death, and other problems have been reported since.

The FDA went over data pertaining to more than 835,000 women who took the medications containing the synthetic hormone drospirenone. Studies done on Yasmin and other medications that contain drospirenone, led the FDA to change the prescription information. The label now explains the risk of blood clots that are associated with birth control pills that contain other hormones. Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals has settled over 8,000 claims totaling $1.4 billion. The company still stands behind their product and says that it is safe to use as directed.

The $14 million award received will aid the Zapalski’s financially, but the stroke caused by Yasmin resulted in life changing health problems for Mariola. Rafal Zapalski expressed that Dr. Aniol did not take care of his wife, so now he has to “do that for her.”

By Twanna Harps


Chicago Tribune
Bloomberg News

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