GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. (CBS4) - CBS4 has learned that criminal charges have been filed against a prominent plastic surgeon and an anesthetist who were involved in the 2019 breast augmentation surgery on 18-year-old Emmalyn Nguyen, who died following breast implant surgery.
Court records show Dr. Geoffrey Kim is being charged with reckless manslaughter, a felony, along with 1st degree aggravated assault, also a felony. Kim turned himself in to authorities Wednesday and was released on $5,000 bond.
Nurse anesthetist Rex Meeker, who was also involved in the case, is also facing a charge of reckless manslaughter. A warrant has been issued for Meeker's arrest.
Nguyen underwent a breast augmentation surgery in August 2019. She went into cardiac arrest and began turning blue during the procedure.
But authorities said Dr. Kim did not contact emergency personnel to transport Nguyen to a hospital for approximately five hours.
Nguyen suffered severe brain damage and was in a minimally conscious state before she died in October 2020.
Medical authorities said Meeker also had an obligation to call for emergency help and get Nguyen to a hospital.
Captain Travis Stewart with the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office said, "We opened this case in August 2019. The investigation has taken more than two years to complete and involved dozens of interviews and search warrants. Our hope is that this will be the beginning of bringing justice and a sense of closure to Emmalyn's family."
The family of Emmalyn Nguyen via their lawyer David Woodruff released the following statements:
"We are glad we are 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. 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."
Woodruff also released his own statement:
"It is very rare for a prosecutor to bring criminal charges against health care providers. I applaud District Attorney John Kellner and Assistant DA Gary Dawson for their courage and tenacity in this investigation and in bringing these charges."
"The judicial system cannot bring Emmalyn back, but what it can do is punish the people who caused her death and send a message to the entire medical community that doctors and nurses will be held to the same standard as other people."
"As we saw in the civil lawsuit, and as the Board of Medical Examiners found, there is sufficient evidence to support charges that Dr. Kim and Mr. Meeker 'engaged in conduct that created a substantial and unjustifiable risk of causing death.'"
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