Girl, 18, in Coma After Breast Enhancement Surgery as Parents File Lawsuit Against Doctor and Nurse
The parents of an 18-year-old Colorado girl have filed a lawsuit after their daughter allegedly went into a coma following breast enhancement surgery.
In the lawsuit, Emmalyn Nguyen‘s parents allege that their daughter has been in a coma ever since her surgery in August. The lawsuit was filed in Boulder County Court against Dr. Geoffrey Kim and nurse anesthetist Rex Meeker, the pair who allegedly administered anesthesia before the surgery.
The parents accuse the doctor and nurse of negligence, claiming they left Emmalyn “unobserved” for 15 minutes after putting her under the anesthesia. During those 15 minutes, the parents allege that something went wrong with the anesthesia, according to the lawsuit.
Since August, Emmalyn has lived “in a permanent ‘semi-conscious’ state” and faces “permanent mental and physical impairment” from her brain injury, the lawsuit claims, adding that the teen now requires constant care, including a permanent feeding tube.
“It appears that Emmalyn stopped breathing because of improper anesthesia, administered by a nurse instead of an anesthesiologist,” David Woodruff, the attorney representing Nguyen’s parents, told PEOPLE. “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.”
“CRNA Rex Meeker maintains that contrary to claims in the lawsuit and those being made in the media, the complications in Ms. Nguyen’s surgery were not related to inappropriate care on his behalf,” Meeker’s lawyer said in a statement. “He denies claims that he did not appropriately monitor or provide reasonable anesthetic care to Ms. Nguyen. While unfortunate, Mr. Meeker is confident that through litigation the evidence will show that the injuries sustained were not the result of inappropriate care by him.”
A lawyer for Kim told PEOPLE that Kim “disputes the claims in the lawsuit, however, because the matter is in litigation, it’s not appropriate to comment in the media at this time.”
Nguyen went into cardiac arrest and stopped breathing after going under the anesthesia before the surgery began, the lawsuit alleges.
Woodruff told PEOPLE that doctor’s office staff allegedly performed CPR on Nguyen twice, and waited five-and-a-half hours before calling 911. Nguyen’s parents were not immediately told that their daughter had gone into cardiac arrest, Woodruff alleges.
“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,” he said.
Attorney Douglas Wolanske, who represents Meeker, refutes the allegation, telling KDVR: “Mr. Meeker’s care was reasonable and within the standard of care and we are confident that the facts will bear this out.”
Meanwhile, Kim’s attorney told the outlet: “As a physician, Dr. Kim is not at liberty to comment about any specific patient.”
“Her body is still there but she’s not there, so we feel like we lost a daughter,” Emmalyn’s mother told KDVR. “I would never want this to happen to anybody. It’s a horrible feeling to watch your child suffer. She always wanted to go travel the world, live life to the fullest and have fun.”