Stroke victim wins $14M in birth control case

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A Cook County jury has awarded an Elmwood Park woman $14 million dollars because she suffered a severe stroke  after taking a controversial birth control medication for just two weeks.
Mariola Zapalski, 37,  suffered a permanent brain injury and is wheel-chair bound, requiring 24-hour care.
Her lawyer says Zapalski took the birth control medication, Yasmin, for 13-days before she suffered the stroke.
She sued her prescribing doctor, Dr. Zbigniew Aniol, of Chicago and Resurrection Medical Center.

Sarah King, Zapalski’s lawyer, says Aniol prescribed Yasmin to Zapalski on her first  visit with him.  King says Aniol was not aware of other medical issues Zapalski had and did not know the risk associated with Yasmin.

The Clifford Law Office said that earlier this year a $2.5 million settlement was reached with Resurrection Medical Center in the same case.

Yasmin and other pills containing the hormone drospirenone have drawn a flood of litigation over reports of deaths, strokes, pulmonary embolisms, gallbladder disease, elevated potassium levels and other problems.

Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, the leading manufacturer of the drugs,  has settled more than 8,000 claims from U.S. plaintiffs for a total of $1.4 billion.

Last year, after reviewing the studies on the risk of blood clots, the FDA changed the prescription information for birth control pills containing drospirenone.

The revised labels explain that the medications may be associated with a higher risk of blood clots than contraceptives containing other hormones.

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