WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Emmalyn Nguyen suffered a cardiac arrest after her surgery and went into a coma for 14 months before dying.
- The lawyer says that the staff at the surgery center performed CPR on her but did not call 911 until more than 5 hours later.
- After Nguyen’s death, the first lawsuit of gross negligence against the surgeon and nurse has become a suit for wrongful death.
Emmalyn Nguyen, 19, had gone for a breast enhancement surgery but later died after 14 months in a coma.
While in coma, her parents sued plastic surgeon Dr. Geoffrey Kim and nurse anesthetist Rex Meeker for gross negligence.
The lawyers of Kim and Seeker have denied any claims, although Kim’s medical license was initially suspended. An agreement with Colorado Medical Board in March put him on probationary status and temporarily allowed him to practice for three years.
To which Nguyen’s father reacted, “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?”
Following her death, her parents have filed a lawsuit for wrongful death.
According to the Nguyens’ lawyer, David Woodruff, the allegations are:
- After administering anesthesia, Nguyen was left “unobserved” for 15 minutes when she went into cardiac arrest and stopped breathing.
- The staff at the center performed CPR twice on Nguyen but did not call 911 until 5 and a half hours later.
- Parents were not informed immediately of the cardiac arrest.
Woodruff said, “It appears that Emmalyn stopped breathing because of improper anesthesia, administered by a nurse instead of an anesthesiologist. But the worst thing is she appears to have been left unattended, not breathing, for up to 15 minutes. It caused her to suffer a massive anoxic brain injury.”
He added, “It is incomprehensible that a team of medical professionals, including a plastic surgeon, a nurse-anesthetist, and multiple nurses, would not call 911 for five and a half hours after performing CPR on their patient who had gone into cardiac arrest twice.”
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.”