Doctor gets probation in case that left 18-year-old in vegetative state

Problem Solvers
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CENTENNIAL, Colo. (KDVR) — The doctor who received an emergency suspension of his medical license learned Thursday that his license has been reinstated under a probationary status.

Dr. Geoffrey’s Kim license was suspended after a botched procedure left 18-year-old Emmalyn Nguyen in a vegetative state, a story that the FOX31 Problem Solvers have followed since the beginning.

On Feb. 27, Kim entered into an agreement with the Colorado Medical Board that allows him to practice again under a probationary status for the next 3 years.

When told of the agreement Kim reached with the Colorado Medical Board, Emmalyn’s father Sonny Nguyen said, “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 3 years probation?”

When asked if he was worried Kim might hurt another patient, Nguyen responded, “From how careless he is, yeah, I think he will.”

The Problem Solvers were the first to report Kim’s license was suspended Jan. 9, 2020, three weeks after the Problem Solvers shared the story of Emmalyn Nguyen.

The 18-year-old was scheduled for a breast augmentation on Aug. 1, 2019. Before the procedure began, she stopped breathing while under anesthesia.

Kim performed CPR on Nguyen and resuscitated her, but the teen never regained consciousness. She now lives in a hospital facility unable to breathe or eat on her own.

According to state documents, Kim instructed his staff not to call 911 for more than five hours after Emmalyn lost consciousness.

Emmalyn’s parents Sonny Nguyen and Lynn Fam have filed a lawsuit against Colorado Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery, its owner (Kim), nurse anesthetist Rex Meeker, registered nurse Shay Hubert and CRNA Associates.

Under the agreement with the state medical board, Kim must complete a professional ethics program and a separate education program that assesses “anesthesia reactions in the surgical setting and a focus on the culture of safety.”

In addition, Kim will only be allowed to perform surgical procedures during his probationary term with a board-certified anesthesiologist. At the time of Nguyen’s procedure, Kim used Meeker, a nurse anesthetist.

Previously, the state Board of Nursing  entered into an “Interim Cessation of Practice Agreement” with Meeker that went into effect on Jan. 2, 2020. Meeker has both a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) license and a registered nurse (RN) license in Colorado. The state did not do anything to impact Meeker’s RN license.

Under the voluntary agreement, Meeker can no longer administer anesthesia to patients but can still act as a nurse. 

According to state documents obtained by the Problem Solvers, “As an Advanced Practice Nurse, Respondent (Meeker) has the responsibility to timely contact emergency services and refer Patient 1 (Emmalyn) to a hospital. The Board reviewed information that anesthetic doses may have been inappropriate under the circumstances.”

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