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 the procedure, authorities announced Wednesday.
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, CBS Denver reported.
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.
"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," Captain Travis Stewart with the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office said, "Our hope is that this will be the beginning of bringing justice and a sense of closure to Emmalyn's family."
Last year, Dr. Kim and Meeker agreed to pay $1 million each to the family, CBS Denver reported.
On Thursday, Nguyen's family said they were glad to be "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," the family said in a statement. "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."
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