Stroke Victim Awarded $14M in Medical Malpractice Case Against Doctor Who Prescribed Yasmin Birth Control

A Chicago woman was awarded $14 million in a medical malpractice case against her doctor after she suffered a severe stroke two weeks after starting the birth control Yasmin.

Mariola Zapalski, 37, was prescribed the controversial contraceptive pill by Dr. Zbigniew Aniol in 2007 to control irregular bleeding. 13 days later, she had a stroke which caused profound brain damage, causing her to become partially paralyzed and wheelchair bound. Zapalski now requires around-the-clock care by her husband, who is now unable to work.

A four woman, eight man jury reached the verdict on April 18 after a two-week trial before Cook County Circuit Judge Edward Washington II. The jury determined that the defendant, Dr. Aniol’s choice to prescribe the medication to Zapalski ultimately led to her life-long debilitating injury. Zapalski’s attorney Bradley Cosgrove said he hopes the “verdict will send a message to other health care providers to be very careful in prescribing this medication that can be very dangerous.”


Yasmin, which is manufactured by Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, Inc., has been widely criticized for years by medical professionals because of its severe adverse side effects which among those side effects include a high risk of stroke in young women. Despite the controversy and known risks, Yasmin and YAZ continue to thrive in the pharmaceutical marketplace. In fact, in 2011 Bayer’s contraceptive medications generated $1.1 billion collectively making them the drug maker’s biggest selling drugs-Yasmin ranked as the No. 4 oral contraceptive in the United States.

In April 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ordered Bayer and other contraceptive makers to strengthen blood-clot warnings on their products. The FDA issued a safety review update last year for Yasmin and other birth control drugs containing drospirenone, a synthetic form of the naturally occurring female hormone progesterone. Medications with drospirenone have been found to triple the risk of blood clots.

As of March 2012, nearly 12,000 lawsuits have been brought against Bayer alleging that numerous contraceptive drugs, including Yasmin, enhance the risk of blood clots (deep vein thrombosis (DVT), pulmonary embolism (PE)) and gallbladder problems. Ocella, which is the generic version of Yasmin, is also associated with serious side effects, some of which have been found to be fatal. Lawsuits also allege that the company failed to adequately warn patients and medical professionals of increased risk of serious side effects associated with the use of Yasmin and Yaz as compared to safer oral contraceptives.

All of the oral contraceptives containing ethinyl estradiol and the new “fourth generation” progestin drospirenone (DRSP) have been linked to:

• Blood Clots • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
• Pulmonary Embolism • Gallbladder Disease • Stroke • Cerebrovascular Accidents (CVA)
• Heart Attack • Myocardial Infarction • Death

Thousands of patients are injured each year as the result of negligent conduct by medical professionals. Incidents and injuries can take place in a variety of settings, and may involve doctors, dentists, nurses, surgeons, midwives, anesthesiologists, technicians, oncologists, and physicians. The case above involved medical malpractice on behalf of the victim’s doctor however the case could also have involved a products liability lawsuit, because the medication prescribed was ultimately what caused the victim’s injuries.

Given the complexity of both types of cases, it is generally advised for victims of medical malpractice or defective products to consult with an experienced attorney who can help them navigate through these difficult and often confusing situations.

At the law office of Altman & Altman, LLP, our team of dedicated Medical Malpractice Attorneys and Products Liability Attorneys have nearly five decades of experience handling cases for victims across the Commonwealth. Our team has the knowledge, tools and resources to aggressively advocate on clients’ behalves to ultimately achieve the compensation they deserve. We will look into every detail of your case and will explore every legal avenue available in order to deliver legal representation of the highest quality.

With offices conveniently located in both Cambridge and downtown Boston, our attorneys have the ability to speak with clients face-to-face about their medical malpractice or product liability claim. In addition, we can and will arrange to travel to your home, office or other location to meet with you to discuss your case. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week – including nights and weekends. If you or a loved one was injured by what you believe to be medical malpractice and negligence, or by a defective product, call or email our office to schedule a free and confidential initial consultation.

Original article from The National Trial Lawyers

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