Colorado teen’s family sues after breast enhancement went wrong leaving her in a vegetative state

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Emmalyn Nguyen, 18, (pictured), suffered a cardiac arrest and brain damage after a breast enhancement procedure went wrong at a Colorado clinic
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An 18-year-old girl suffered cardiac arrest and brain damage after a breast enhancement procedure went wrong at a Colorado clinic. 

Emmalyn Nguyen was allegedly left on an operating table for five hours before medics called 911 after she was given anesthesia. 

Her parents, Lynn Fam and Sonny Nguyen, filed a lawsuit in Arapahoe County Court accusing surgeon Dr. Geoffrey Kim and Nurse Anesthetist Rex Meeker of gross negligence.

The couple, who are from Thornton, told KDVR that Emmalyn wanted to get breast enhancements upon graduating from high school and to build up her self-image.  

Emmalyn Nguyen, 18, (pictured), suffered a cardiac arrest and brain damage after a breast enhancement procedure went wrong at a Colorado clinic

Emmalyn Nguyen

Emmalyn Nguyen

Emmalyn Nguyen’s family claim she wanted to travel the world and live life to the full but was left in vegetative state after she was administered anesthesia before undergoing breast enhancement surgery, which did not occur thereafter  

According to the lawsuit, she went into cardiac arrest and stopped breathing before she underwent the surgery at Colorado Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery.

Her heartbroken mother Lynn told the outlet: ‘Her body is still there but she’s not there, so we feel like we lost a daughter.

‘We thought it was going to be easier everyday but it doesn’t. It’s really hard to see her this way,’ she said.

David Woodruff, an attorney with the Denver Trial Lawyers who represents Emmalyn’s parents, said that what should have been a standard procedure proved to be a ‘nightmare’ for the family.

He claimed: ‘She was left unobserved. No one watched her for about 15 minutes. A nurse comes into the room and finds her blue.’

Woodruff claimed medics had tried to revive her using CPR but she did not regain consciousness.  

‘They leave her on the operating table for 5 ½ hours and don’t call 911 for 5 ½ hours while Emmalyn’s mother sits in the waiting room unaware of what’s happening,’ he said.

Lynn Fam claimed the doctor came back out to tell her she couldn’t go in to check on her.  

Nguyen's parents Lynn and Sonny have filed a lawsuit accusing surgeon Dr. Geoffrey Kim and Nurse Anesthetist Rex Meeker of gross negligence

Nguyen’s parents Lynn and Sonny have filed a lawsuit accusing surgeon Dr. Geoffrey Kim and Nurse Anesthetist Rex Meeker of gross negligence

Lynn Fam and Sonny Nguyen said their daughter wanted breast enhancements upon graduating from high school and to build up her self-image. They are seen with her at a Thornton nursing home

Lynn Fam and Sonny Nguyen said their daughter wanted breast enhancements upon graduating from high school and to build up her self-image. They are seen with her at a Thornton nursing home

Emmalyn's parents claim it is heartbreaking to see her now as she now requires an oxygen machine to keep her alive and is fed through a feeding tube

Emmalyn’s parents claim it is heartbreaking to see her now as she now requires an oxygen machine to keep her alive and is fed through a feeding tube 

‘She’s doing fine and she’s young, maybe that’s the reason why she’s taking longer to wake up,’ Fam claims the doctor allegedly told her. 

The couple now visit their daughter every day at a Thornton nursing home, where she is fed through a feeding tube and is kept breathing through an oxygen machine. 

Fam said: ‘That’s the thing, as a mother that’s so hard is you weren’t able to protect your child. It’s a horrible feeling.

‘We thought it was going to be easier everyday but it doesn’t. It’s really hard to see her this way.

‘I would never want this to happen to anybody. It’s a horrible feeling to watch your child suffer.’ 

Lynn Fam said her daughter had saved $6000 to undergo the procedure and she had been healthy prior to that

Lynn Fam said her daughter had saved $6000 to undergo the procedure and she had been healthy prior to that

Dr. Geoffrey Kim

Nurse Anesthetist Rex Meeker

Dr. Geoffrey Kim, (left),  had tried to resuscitate Emmalyn Nguyen after she went into cardiac arrest. Her family’s attorney David Woodruff claims Nurse Anesthetist Rex Meeker, (right), did not administer her anesthesia properly

She claimed that her daughter had wished to travel around the world and have a good, happy life. ‘I feel like she (has) no future left,’ Emmalyn’s father added.

Woodruff claimed that Nurse Anesthetist Rex Meeker did not administer her anesthesia properly and that he failed to keep check on her condition constantly.

‘She will remain in a nursing home essentially non-functional with someone feeding her through a tube for the next 50 years,’ Woodruff added.

Meeker eventually called 911 and can be heard saying in a call: ‘She’s not conscious. We’ve evaluated her. We’ve estimated a Glasgow score of 6 or 7.’

Emmalyn Nguyen

Emmalyn Nguyen

Attempts were made to resuscitate Emmalyn Nguyen twice and she had stabilized but a call to 911 was allegedly not made for five hours as her mother waited outside  

Emmalyn's mother claimed it is 'a horrible feeling' to watch your child suffer and she cannot help her

Emmalyn’s mother claimed it is ‘a horrible feeling’ to watch your child suffer and she cannot help her 

Lynn Fam said the the procedure was supposed to last two hours but it went into the afternoon and she had repeatedly asked doctors for an update

Lynn Fam said the the procedure was supposed to last two hours but it went into the afternoon and she had repeatedly asked doctors for an update 

The Glasgow scale is used to assess patients in a coma, with scores of 3-8 showing that patients are comatose.   

Woodruff claims that Emmalyn was left unattended and unobserved for 15 minutes after being given anesthesia August 1 at 2 pm by Meeker. 

He told CBS Denver that Nguyen went into cardiac arrest and was revived as Dr. Kim had performed a resuscitation attempt.

However she then went into cardiac arrest again and was stabilized but a call to 911 was still not made.   

Attorney Douglas Wolaske, who represents Meeker, told KDVR: ‘Mr. Meeker’s care was reasonable and within the standard of care and we are confident that the facts will bear this out.’

According to KDVR, Meeker was sued in 2009 by a man named after his wife sustained brain damage and died as she was undergoing breast enhancement surgery. He was the nurse anesthetist in that case, which had been settled in 2012.  

Kari Hershey, Dr Kim’s attorney did not comment other than to say: ‘As a physician, Dr. Kim is not at liberty to comment about any specific patient.’



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An 18-year-old girl suffered cardiac arrest and brain damage after a breast enhancement procedure went wrong at a Colorado clinic. 

Emmalyn Nguyen was allegedly left on an operating table for five hours before medics called 911 after she was given anesthesia. 

Her parents, Lynn Fam and Sonny Nguyen, filed a lawsuit in Arapahoe County Court accusing surgeon Dr. Geoffrey Kim and Nurse Anesthetist Rex Meeker of gross negligence.

The couple, who are from Thornton, told KDVR that Emmalyn wanted to get breast enhancements upon graduating from high school and to build up her self-image.  

Emmalyn Nguyen, 18, (pictured), suffered a cardiac arrest and brain damage after a breast enhancement procedure went wrong at a Colorado clinic

Emmalyn Nguyen

Emmalyn Nguyen

Emmalyn Nguyen’s family claim she wanted to travel the world and live life to the full but was left in vegetative state after she was administered anesthesia before undergoing breast enhancement surgery, which did not occur thereafter  

According to the lawsuit, she went into cardiac arrest and stopped breathing before she underwent the surgery at Colorado Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery.

Her heartbroken mother Lynn told the outlet: ‘Her body is still there but she’s not there, so we feel like we lost a daughter.

‘We thought it was going to be easier everyday but it doesn’t. It’s really hard to see her this way,’ she said.

David Woodruff, an attorney with the Denver Trial Lawyers who represents Emmalyn’s parents, said that what should have been a standard procedure proved to be a ‘nightmare’ for the family.

He claimed: ‘She was left unobserved. No one watched her for about 15 minutes. A nurse comes into the room and finds her blue.’

Woodruff claimed medics had tried to revive her using CPR but she did not regain consciousness.  

‘They leave her on the operating table for 5 ½ hours and don’t call 911 for 5 ½ hours while Emmalyn’s mother sits in the waiting room unaware of what’s happening,’ he said.

Lynn Fam claimed the doctor came back out to tell her she couldn’t go in to check on her.  

Nguyen's parents Lynn and Sonny have filed a lawsuit accusing surgeon Dr. Geoffrey Kim and Nurse Anesthetist Rex Meeker of gross negligence

Nguyen’s parents Lynn and Sonny have filed a lawsuit accusing surgeon Dr. Geoffrey Kim and Nurse Anesthetist Rex Meeker of gross negligence

Lynn Fam and Sonny Nguyen said their daughter wanted breast enhancements upon graduating from high school and to build up her self-image. They are seen with her at a Thornton nursing home

Lynn Fam and Sonny Nguyen said their daughter wanted breast enhancements upon graduating from high school and to build up her self-image. They are seen with her at a Thornton nursing home

Emmalyn's parents claim it is heartbreaking to see her now as she now requires an oxygen machine to keep her alive and is fed through a feeding tube

Emmalyn’s parents claim it is heartbreaking to see her now as she now requires an oxygen machine to keep her alive and is fed through a feeding tube 

‘She’s doing fine and she’s young, maybe that’s the reason why she’s taking longer to wake up,’ Fam claims the doctor allegedly told her. 

The couple now visit their daughter every day at a Thornton nursing home, where she is fed through a feeding tube and is kept breathing through an oxygen machine. 

Fam said: ‘That’s the thing, as a mother that’s so hard is you weren’t able to protect your child. It’s a horrible feeling.

‘We thought it was going to be easier everyday but it doesn’t. It’s really hard to see her this way.

‘I would never want this to happen to anybody. It’s a horrible feeling to watch your child suffer.’ 

Lynn Fam said her daughter had saved $6000 to undergo the procedure and she had been healthy prior to that

Lynn Fam said her daughter had saved $6000 to undergo the procedure and she had been healthy prior to that

Dr. Geoffrey Kim

Nurse Anesthetist Rex Meeker

Dr. Geoffrey Kim, (left),  had tried to resuscitate Emmalyn Nguyen after she went into cardiac arrest. Her family’s attorney David Woodruff claims Nurse Anesthetist Rex Meeker, (right), did not administer her anesthesia properly

She claimed that her daughter had wished to travel around the world and have a good, happy life. ‘I feel like she (has) no future left,’ Emmalyn’s father added.

Woodruff claimed that Nurse Anesthetist Rex Meeker did not administer her anesthesia properly and that he failed to keep check on her condition constantly.

‘She will remain in a nursing home essentially non-functional with someone feeding her through a tube for the next 50 years,’ Woodruff added.

Meeker eventually called 911 and can be heard saying in a call: ‘She’s not conscious. We’ve evaluated her. We’ve estimated a Glasgow score of 6 or 7.’

Emmalyn Nguyen

Emmalyn Nguyen

Attempts were made to resuscitate Emmalyn Nguyen twice and she had stabilized but a call to 911 was allegedly not made for five hours as her mother waited outside  

Emmalyn's mother claimed it is 'a horrible feeling' to watch your child suffer and she cannot help her

Emmalyn’s mother claimed it is ‘a horrible feeling’ to watch your child suffer and she cannot help her 

Lynn Fam said the the procedure was supposed to last two hours but it went into the afternoon and she had repeatedly asked doctors for an update

Lynn Fam said the the procedure was supposed to last two hours but it went into the afternoon and she had repeatedly asked doctors for an update 

The Glasgow scale is used to assess patients in a coma, with scores of 3-8 showing that patients are comatose.   

Woodruff claims that Emmalyn was left unattended and unobserved for 15 minutes after being given anesthesia August 1 at 2 pm by Meeker. 

He told CBS Denver that Nguyen went into cardiac arrest and was revived as Dr. Kim had performed a resuscitation attempt.

However she then went into cardiac arrest again and was stabilized but a call to 911 was still not made.   

Attorney Douglas Wolaske, who represents Meeker, told KDVR: ‘Mr. Meeker’s care was reasonable and within the standard of care and we are confident that the facts will bear this out.’

According to KDVR, Meeker was sued in 2009 by a man named after his wife sustained brain damage and died as she was undergoing breast enhancement surgery. He was the nurse anesthetist in that case, which had been settled in 2012.  

Kari Hershey, Dr Kim’s attorney did not comment other than to say: ‘As a physician, Dr. Kim is not at liberty to comment about any specific patient.’



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