UC Regents Ordered to Pay $7.6M California Medical Malpractice Verdict to Teenager Who Sustained Spinal Cord Injury that Left Her a Paraplegic

December 31, 1969

A jury has awarded D'Knawn Hairston $7.6m in California spinal cord injury damages in her medical malpractice lawsuit against the UC Regents. Hairston became paralyzed from the waist down in 2003 after doctors at UC Davis medical center failed to diagnose that she had a spinal abnormality. Hairston was 13 at the time.

A radiology resident and a pediatric radiologist both looked at an MRI of Hairston's spine. The teenager had been admitted to the UC hospital after experiencing sensation loss in the lower half of her body and back pain. Per court documents, both doctors diagnosed her spine as normal even though an abnormal mass was visible in the images. Instead, the doctors determined that Hairston had Guillain-Barre Syndrome, which they treated.

Nearly four years ago, Hairston woke up one day and was unable to move her legs. Once again, she was admitted to a hospital. MRI results revealed a large bleeding growth in the same area where the abnormal mass had been on her spine. Although the growth was removed, she sustained a permanent spinal cord injury and she is now a paraplegic (below the waist.)

Spinal Cord Injuries
A spinal cord injury involves damage to the spinal cord. Common causes of SCIs include:

• Motor vehicle accidents
• Fall accidents
• Gunshot wounds
• Sports injuries
• Assault crimes
• Work accidents
• Wear and tear from aging

The sooner a spinal cord injury is treated, the better the chances of recovery, or, at the very least, a reduction of long-term side effects.

In addition to partial paralysis, temporary paralysis, permanent paralysis (including quadriplegia and paraplegia), other serious effects of SCIs can include:

• Kidney disease
• Paralysis of respiratory muscles
• Pressure sores
• Deep vein thrombosis
• Skin breakdown
• Numbness
• Urinary tract infections
• Loss of bowel and bladder control
• Changes to blood pressure
• Muscle spasticity
• Shock
• Loss of sensation

Living with an SCI can be life-altering and costly. A spinal cord injury patient may need round-the-clock nursing care, extensive therapies, and costly medical equipment. He/she also may not be able to hold a job.

If someone's negligence caused or contributed to you suffering a Orange County, California spinal cord injury, you may have grounds for an Anaheim personal injury lawsuit.

For example, in Hairston's case, it was the physicians' delayed diagnosis that caused her condition to deteriorate. If they had treated the problem sooner, she may not have become permanently paralyzed. As a result, she was able to pursue and obtain California medical malpractice damages.


Elk Grove woman wins $7.6M in UC Davis malpractice suit, Business Journals, October 31, 2011

UC Regents


More Blog Posts:
$4.5M California Spinal Cord Injury Settlement Reached in Case of Girl Injured While Being Rescued by CHP Following 2006 Car Crash, California Injury Lawyers, June 13, 2011

$49.2M California Car Accident Verdict Awarded to Driver's Family and CHP Officer Who is Now a Quadriplegic, California Injury Lawyers, January 28, 2011

California Jury Awards $16.5 Million Riverside County Medical Malpractice Verdict to Couple in Injury Case Against Neurosurgeon, California Injury Lawyers, February 12, 2011

You want to work with an Anaheim spinal cord injury law firm that understands the nature of your injuries and how to obtain your ecovery.