19-year old dies more than a year after breast surgery put her in coma

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THORNTON, Colo. (KDVR) – A Colorado teenager who spent the last 14 months of her life in a coma caused by a breast enhancement surgery gone wrong has died. 

Friends and family of Emmalyn Nguyen paid their final respects to the 19-year-old at her funeral on Sunday. The teen passed away a week earlier, but her family didn’t want her death publicized until the day of her funeral.

Nguyen’s parents have filed a lawsuit in Arapahoe County accusing Dr. Geoffrey Kim and Nurse Anesthetist Rex Meeker of gross negligence.

Family attorney David Woodruff said Nguyen developed pneumonia in her nursing home and went into cardiac arrest.

Woodruff shared that Nguyen was resuscitated and taken to a local hospital but suffered cardiac arrest multiple times over a 24-hour period before finally passing away last Sunday. 

The doctor in charge of Nguyen’s surgery had his license suspended on an emergency basis after it was revealed that his office staff waited five hours to call 911 after Nguyen lost consciousness before her procedure even began.

In March, Dr. Kim’s license was reinstated under a probationary status. 

On Feb. 27, Kim entered into an agreement with the Colorado Medical Board that allows him to practice again under a probationary status for the next three years.

When told of the agreement Kim reached with the Colorado Medical Board, Emmalyn’s father Sonny Nguyen said, “I don’t know what the board is thinking but I think that’s kind of unfair. He nearly killed someone and he only gets three years probation?”

Now that Emmalyn Nguyen has died, attorney Woodruff says the family’s lawsuit will now become a case of wrongful death.

“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,” Woodruff 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.” 

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