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Colorado plastic surgeon found guilty after young patient slips into coma, dies

Posted at 9:17 AM, Jun 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-16 11:17:41-04

A jury found a Colorado plastic surgeon guilty after he did not call 911 for five hours after an 18-year-old patient slipped into cardiac arrest after receiving anesthesia.

Dr. Geoffrey Kim was found guilty on Wednesday afternoon of attempted reckless manslaughter and obstruction of telephone service, according to the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office. He is scheduled for sentencing for Sept. 8. He faces up to three years in prison.

He was charged after Emmalyn Nguyen, 18, of Thornton, slipped into a coma and went into cardiac arrest after receiving anesthesia on Aug. 1, 2019. She had visited his surgery center in Greenwood Village for a breast augmentation procedure.

She was eventually rushed to Littleton Adventist Hospital where doctors determined she had a severe anoxic brain injury due to the prolonged cardiac arrest. Nguyen spent three weeks at the hospital and was then transferred to Vibra Hospital for rehab.

Nguyen held on, but shortly after getting pneumonia, her body gave out. She died in a nursing home about a year after the incident, in October 2020. She was 19.

That month, her family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Kim.

On Jan. 9, 2020, Kim's medical license was suspended. In February 2022, he was arrested.

During Kim's trial, a nurse anesthetist testified that he had told Kim that the patient should be brought to a hospital and they should call 911.

Emmalyn Nguyen

Based on the investigation, Kim did not call for help for five hours after Nguyen went into cardiac arrest, according to the district attorney's office.

The obstruction charge stemmed from the fact that Kim would not let several medical professionals in the office to call 911 and ask for transfer care for Nguyen, the DA said.

"We understand medical procedures don't always go as planned, but this defendant showed a shocking and extreme lack of judgment and humanity by failing to call for an ambulance and denying his patient appropriate treatment in a hospital setting," said Chief Deputy District Attorney Gary Dawson. "Patients put their trust in doctors and the outcome might have been different had the defendant sought appropriate medical care. This defendant made decisions based on what was best for his business and not for his patient."