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Colorado plastic surgeon arrested in teen’s death after botched surgery


A plastic surgeon and a Colorado nurse behind a botched 2019 operation that resulted in the death of teenage patient Emmalyn Nguyen have been charged, officials said.

Nguyen, then 18, went to Colorado Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery for breast augmentation on Aug. 1, 2019, but suffered cardiac arrest after being anesthetized, the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office said.

Emmalyn Nguyen, 18, fell into a coma that left her in a vegetative state, her family said in a 2019 lawsuit. (Courtesy of the Nguyen family)

She fell into a coma after the operation went wrong, leaving her in a vegetative state, her family claimed in a 2019 lawsuit.

She died approximately 14 months after the procedure in October 2020.

The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office announced Wednesday that a warrant for the arrest of Dr. Geoffrey Kim, 52, has been obtained in Nguyen’s death, “after a lengthy criminal investigation.”

He was charged with first-degree aggravated assault and criminally negligent homicide.

He surrendered to authorities accompanied by his attorney on Wednesday, was arrested and after being released on bail, the sheriff’s office said.

Rex Meeker, a nurse anesthetist, is also charged with manslaughter and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.

Colorado plastic surgeon arrested in teen’s death after botched surgery

Dr Geoffrey Kim. (Arapahoe County Sheriff)

“We opened this criminal case in August 2019. The investigation lasted more than two years and involved dozens of interviews and search warrants. Our hope is that this will be the beginning of justice and a sense of closure for Emmalyn’s family,” said Travis Stewart, captain of investigations at the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office.

David Woodruff, an attorney for the Nguyen family, told NBC affiliate KUSA of Denver, Colorado, “I think the family has mixed feelings about this.”

“Obviously they are extremely happy that there is finally justice for Emmalyn, but at the same time it brings the whole ordeal back to life again and it kind of reawakened the trauma that they went through,” a- he continued.

“At the end of the day, I think they’re happy to see this happening, and it’s encouraging that the legal system is pursuing this,” Woodruff said.

Colorado plastic surgeon arrested in teen’s death after botched surgery

Emmalyn Nguyen pictured before the incident. (Courtesy of the Nguyen family)

Kim and Meeker allegedly left Nguyen ‘unattended’ for 15 minutes after putting her under anesthesia during her procedure, which her parents say is against best medical practice, according to the negligence lawsuit filed by Nguyen’s parents in 2019.

While they were gone, something went wrong with the anesthesia, according to the lawsuit, and she was found with her lips and face turning blue, the discoloration spreading all over her body.

Nguyen suffered cardiac arrest twice and had to be resuscitated, according to the lawsuit. Doctors waited five hours to call 911, according to the lawsuit.

Following the incident, Nguyen was left “in a permanent ‘semi-conscious state'” due to her brain injury and required 24-hour care, including a permanent feeding tube, according to the trial, before his death.

NBC News has contacted the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office for comment.

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