Colorado plastic surgeon, nurse anesthetist charged with manslaughter in botched breast surgery

  • Plastic surgeon Dr. Geoffrey Kim and nurse anesthetist Rex Meeker were charged with reckless manslaughter in connection to a disastrous breast augmentation surgery in Colorado back in August 2019.
  • The patient, 19-year-old Emmalyn Nguyen, spent more than a year in a vegetative state before passing away in October 2020.
  • Nguyen’s family filed a civil lawsuit in December 2019, which concluded last year after Kim and Meeker each agreed to pay $1 million.
  • Following an arrest warrant, Kim surrendered himself to the police on Wednesday. However, he was released on a $5,000 bond.
  • An arrest warrant was also issued for Meeker, who remains out of custody.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to include that Rex Meeker had also turned himself over to police.

A plastic surgeon and a nurse anesthetist in Colorado are now facing criminal charges in connection to a disastrous breast augmentation surgery that led to a young woman’s death in October 2020.

Emmalyn Nguyen, 18, underwent the procedure at Dr. Geoffrey Kim’s Colorado Aesthetics and Plastic Surgery in Greenwood Village on Aug. 1, 2019. After receiving anesthesia, she reportedly experienced two cardiac arrests and ended up with brain damage.

Nguyen’s family’s lawyer, David Woodruff, alleged that nurse Rex Meeker had left the then-18-year-old unattended for 15 minutes after administering the anesthesia. Meeker was reportedly involved in a similar incident in 2007.

Kim, who reportedly revived Nguyen after her first cardiac arrest, allegedly misled her family into thinking that “everything is fine.”

dr geoffrey kim
Dr. Geoffrey Kim. Image via Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office

“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,” Nguyen’s mother, Lynn Fam, told CBS Denver.

Nguyen remained in a vegetative state prior to her death in October 2020. She reportedly developed pneumonia in her nursing home and went into cardiac arrest multiple times over a 24-hour period.

Last Wednesday, the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office announced that Kim had surrendered himself over to the police following an arrest warrant. He was charged with criminally negligent homicide and first-degree aggravated assault, both categorized as felonies.

Meeker, on the other hand, was solely charged with manslaughter. He turned himself in on Friday but he was released shortly after on an undisclosed bond, as per KDVR.

Rex Meeker. Image via Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office

“We opened this criminal case in August 2019. The investigation has taken more than two years to complete and involved dozens of interviews and search warrants,” said Captain of Investigations Travis Stewart. “Our hope is that this will be the beginning of bringing justice and a sense of closure to Emmalyn’s family.”

In a statement, the family shared that they are hopeful about “finally getting 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,” the family said, according to CBS News. “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.”

Kim, who turned himself in with his attorney, was also released after posting a $5,000 bond. Last year, he and Meeker agreed to pay $1 million each to Nguyen’s family in a civil settlement, as per CBS Denver.

Featured Image via Emmalyn Nguyen’s family (left) and CBS Denver (right)

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