Colorado Teen Dies After 14-Month Coma from Botched Breast Enhancement Surgery

Emmalyn Nguyen

The 19-year-old woman from Thornton, Colorado, who went into a coma after a botched breast implant operation last year, has died.

Tragic news: Emmalyn Nguyen died on Oct. 4, but her family did not share the news of her passing until after her funeral on Oct. 11, according to KDVR.

  • Nguyen family’s attorney, David Woodruff, said the teenager developed pneumonia in her nursing home on Oct. 2 and went into cardiac arrest multiple times over a 24-hour period, CBS Denver reported.

 

  • Nguyen was in a vegetative state ever since her breast implant operation went wrong on Aug. 1, 2019.
  • The family launched a negligence lawsuit against prominent doctor Geoffrey Kim, and nurse-anesthetist, Rex Meeker, CRN, at Colorado Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery in Greenwood Village after the surgery, Daily Mail reported.
  • However, Woodruff said the family is now looking to change the lawsuit into wrongful death after her passing.
  • “In terms of the lawsuit filed against the plastic surgeon, Geoffrey Kim, M.D. and nurse-anesthetist, Rex Meeker, CRNA who caused Emmalyn’s catastrophic brain injury on Aug. 1, 2019: that lawsuit will continue as a wrongful death lawsuit by Emmalyn’s parents and siblings,” the family’s lawyer said. “Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States. Emmalyn’s parents believe it is important to tell Emmalyn’s story, not only to bring her some justice but also to help prevent this from ever happening to another patient.”
  • Before her death, Woodruff said the teen was showing progress and was able to smile at times and became medically stable.

Surgery gone wrong: Nguyen, who was 18 at the time of the breast enhancement surgery, saved up $6,000 to have the operation.

 

  • Woodruff said Meeker left the teenager unattended for 15 minutes after he administered the anesthesia before the surgery. A nurse later checked on Nguyen and found her “blue.”
  • The teen spent five hours on the operating table where she suffered two cardiac arrests and brain damage while her mother, Lynn Fam, was sitting in the waiting room.
  • The mother said the doctor told her she wouldn’t be able to check on her daughter, adding, “She’s doing fine and she’s young, maybe that’s the reason why she’s taking longer to wake up.”
  • The team eventually called 911 and Meeker can be heard saying, “She’s not conscious. We’ve evaluated her. We’ve estimated a Glasgow score of 6 or 7,” which indicates a patient is comatose if the person reaches anywhere from three to eight.

 

  • Medics eventually arrived at the clinic and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on Nguyen, but the teen never regained consciousness. She was rushed to Littleton Adventist Hospital.
  • The teen’s family said Meeker didn’t administer the anesthesia properly during the procedure and never monitored her condition.
  • Nguyen was unable to walk, talk or feed herself following the botched breast augmentation procedure. She was placed by her family in a nursing home to get round-the-clock care and had to be fed through a tube. The teen was also hooked to an oxygen machine to help her breathe.

Feature Image via CBS Denver

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