Plastic surgeon, nurse charged for patient’s death

More than a year after his patient died from a botched breast augmentation procedure, a plastic surgeon in Colorado has been charged with manslaughter while his nurse anesthetist is also facing a separate case.

Surgeon Dr. Geoffrey Kim was charged with reckless manslaughter and first-degree aggravated assault while nurse anesthetist Rex Meeker was also charged with reckless manslaughter for the death of teen patient Emmalyn Nguyen.

Kim turned himself in to police authorities on Wednesday but was later released after paying a $5,000 bail. An arrest warrant is still out for Meeker.

Police investigations showed that Nguyen went to Kim at the Colorado Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery on Aug. 1, 2019 for a breast augmentation but went into cardiac arrest after receiving anesthesia.

Police said Kim failed to call for emergency help despite Nguyen’s condition and just observed her for more than five hours.

Nguyen later went into a coma and suffered severe brain damage. She died on Oct. 4, 2020.

Medical authorities said both Kim and Meeker had an obligation to call for help and bring Nguyen to a hospital.

In the case filed by Nguyen’s parents against Kim and Meeker, they alleged that their daughter was left “unobserved” for 15 minutes after the anesthesia was administered, during which time she went into cardiac arrest and stopped breathing.

Atty. David Woodruff, legal counsel of Nguyen’s parents, said the staff at Kim’s plastic surgery center allegedly performed CPR on Nguyen twice but waited more than five hours before calling 911.

Woodruff said Kim and his staff did not even inform Nguyen’s parents that she had gone into cardiac arrest.

In June 2021, Nguyen’s family settled their lawsuit with Kim and Meeker, where both agreed to pay $1 million each.

Captain Travis Stewart of the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office said they opened Nguyen’s case in August 2019 but the investigation has taken more than two years to complete as it involved dozens of interviews and search warrants.

“Our hope is that this will be the beginning of bringing justice and a sense of closure to Emmalyn’s family,” Stewart said.

With the charges filed against Kim and Meeker, Nguyen’s family said they are thankful to “finally get justice for Emmalyn.”

“Even though it will never bring our daughter back, at least this will help others from getting hurt and prevent ruining other families’ lives. We still haven’t been able to get closure from Emmalyn’s death. Hopefully, bringing criminal charges will bring out the truth about what happened and will bring justice for Emmalyn,” her parents said.

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