Suburban woman wins $14M verdict in Yasmin case

A suburban Chicago woman who suffered a debilitating stroke just days after starting to take the birth control medication Yasmin won a $14 million verdict.
April 19, 2014 9:06:43 PM PDT
A jury has awarded $14 million to a suburban woman who sued her doctor after suffering a debilitating stroke. She suffered it after taking the birth control drug Yasmin.

On Saturday, the woman's husband spoke out about the verdict and how the stroke has changed their lives.

Back in 2007, Mariola Zapalski was prescribed Yasmin to deal with irregular bleeding. She took the birth control pill for just 13 days before suffering a debilitating stroke. Her husband and her attorneys hope the verdict will serve as a victory not just for them, but for patients' rights everywhere.

"Nobody should have to go through what we did," said Rafal Zapalski.

Wheelchair bound, paralyzed on her left side and unable to fully communicate: this has been Mariola Zapalski's life since the 2007 stroke that her attorneys say was caused by taking the birth control pill Yasmin. On Friday, a Cook County jury agreed with that assessment and awarded Mariola and her husband a $14 million verdict in their lawsuit against the prescribing doctor.

"Under the circumstances for this patient, Yasmin was a dangerous drug for her and it was an inappropriate choice because of Mariola Zapalski's underlying risk factors," said Bradley Cosgrove, Clifford Law Office.

The lawsuit is the latest involving the popular birth control pill, which is still on the market. As recently as last year the FDA changed the warning label on Yasmin and other estrogen containing birth control pills, warning of an increased risk for blood clots.

"He could have prescribed a progesterone-only pill to manage her medical condition, which carries little to no risk," said Cosgrove.

For the Zapalski's, the stroke has been a life-changing event. The 37-year-old now requires 24/7 care which her husband provides, leaving him unable to work. He hopes the verdict will send a message to all doctors.

"They have to be more careful when they are prescribing dangerous drugs to make sure they are right for the person," said Zapalski.

Eyewitness News tried to reach the doctor who prescribed the Yasmin to Mariola Zapalski for comment, but have been unable to do so. This is the second lawsuit filed in relation to this case. Just last month, Resurrection Medical Center settled with the couple in the amount of $2.5 million. It's the hospital that referred the Zapalski's to the doctor in question.


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