A botched cosmetic procedure done by a prominent surgeon allegedly left a Colorado teenager with brain damage.
Emmalyn Nguyen, 18, had her breast augmentation performed by Geoffrey Kim, a doctor from Greenwood Village, last summer. While the surgery was being performed, Nguyen reportedly suffered two cardiac arrests and brain damage.
In a lawsuit filed against Kim and a nurse anesthetist on Wednesday, Nguyen’s family alleged that it took the surgery team over five hours before they called 911. The victim’s mother, Lynn Fam, told CBS4 that her daughter was in good health before the surgery.
A graduate of Mountain Range High School, Nguyen saved up $6,000 for the procedure that many of her friends and relatives had undergone before.
“To us it felt safe,” Lynn Fam was quoted as saying.
The family’s lawyer, David Woodruff, alleged that certified nurse anesthetist Rex Meeker left Nguyen unattended for 15 minutes after giving her anesthesia inside Kim’s Greenwood Village office, Colorado Aesthetics and Plastic Surgery, on August 1 at 2 p.m.
Nguyen then went into cardiac arrest and was revived after Dr. Kim performed CPR. According to medical records, Nguyen went into cardiac arrest again a few minutes later and stabilized in the clinic.
The lawsuit, which alleges negligence, highlighted that even though the patient was deemed “neurologically unresponsive,” the medical specialists failed to call 911 immediately.
“We just really want to know what happened, what was the truth, what happened back there,” Lynn Fam lamented. “I was fine with it. We didn’t think anything like that was going to happen to our daughter. I was a teenage girl once before.”
When Fam started asking why the supposedly two-hour procedure stretched into the day, staff members tried to mislead her about what was happening.
Dr. Kim also allegedly told her that while they didn’t proceed with the procedure because her “heart rate dropped,” she did not need to worry because “everything is fine.”
“He said everything is fine, Emmalyn is fine, everything is good. She’s young, she’s healthy, she’ll be okay, it’s just taking her long to wake up,” Fam said.
When the nurse anesthetist finally called 911 at around 7:35 p.m., Nguyen was picked up by an ambulance which rushed her to Littleton Adventist Hospital.
Nguyen was transferred to a rehabilitation hospital about three weeks later. There, she was given continuous medical care and attention.
Today, Nguyen remains unable to speak, walk, eat or take care of herself in a state known as “minimally conscious.”
Nguyen’s loved ones are brokenhearted about the damage in her brain and they worry that she will remain in this condition for the rest of her life.
While Dr. Kim had no previous record of negligence, Meeker, the nurse anesthetist, had been involved in a similar situation back in 2007.
Meeker faced a lawsuit in 2009 after a patient undergoing a breast augmentation died under his watch as a nurse anesthetist. He was accused of not recognizing the patient suffering from low blood pressure and a slow heart rate during the procedure. The alleged negligence led to cardiac arrest and severe brain damage. The patient died a month later.
The suit, which accused Meeker of negligence, was eventually settled out of court with confidential terms.
Feature Image via FOX31