CENTENNIAL, Colo. (KDVR) — A nurse anesthetist once charged in connection to the death of a 19-year-old patient took the stand Wednesday as the prosecution’s star witness against his former co-worker, Dr. Geoffrey Kim.

Rex Meeker is the nurse anesthetist who administered anesthesia that the Arapahoe County coroner said eventually killed Emmalyn Nguyen.

The 19-year-old died on Oct. 4, 2020, about 14 months after she slipped into a coma. Nguyen had gone to Kim’s plastic surgery center on Aug. 1, 2019, and lost consciousness after receiving sedatives administered by Meeker.

Kim is accused of ordering his staff not to call 911 for more than five hours after Nguyen lost consciousness while undergoing a breast enhancement procedure.

Kim is charged with reckless manslaughter, negligent homicide and obstructing telephone services.

Close up image of Dr. Geoffrey Kim in a court room
Dr. Geoffrey Kim in the Arapahoe County courthouse as trial begins in the death of his patient (KDVR)

Nurse: Doctor forbade staff from calling 911

Meeker took the stand Wednesday morning and told the jury that after he saw Nguyen turn blue, Kim performed CPR and resuscitated the teenager’s heartbeat but forbade staff from calling 911.

“I told (Kim) him we should send her to the hospital and I added it’s standard operating procedure,” Meeker testified.

The nurse anesthetist, who had worked alongside Kim for 10 years as an independent contractor, said Kim waited more than five hours before he finally agreed to let Meeker call 911.

Kim’s defense team suggests Meeker’s original charges were dismissed in exchange for his testimony, which Meeker denied.

“Once they had questioned me and received my testimony, they felt there wasn’t grounds for charges,” Meeker said.

Kim’s defense attorney claims the five-hour delay isn’t what killed Nguyen — that she would have died no matter what because of the anesthesia administered by Meeker.

Meeker agreed to surrender his license in December 2021, after the state nursing board determined Meeker had an independent duty to call 911 regardless of what Kim wanted.

Kim’s license was suspended for a period of time after Nguyen slipped into a coma, but state-imposed limits on his license were lifted completely on May 31.

Kim’s trial is expected to last through the middle of next week.