A Colorado family is suing a doctor and a nurse anesthetist after their teenage daughter suffered brain damage during cosmetic surgery -- with no one calling 911 for more than five hours, according to CBS Denver.
In the lawsuit, the family of 18-year-old Emmalyn Nguyen says she suffered two cardiac arrests after being given anesthesia on August 1. She'll likely be in a non-responsive state, requiring around-the-clock medical care for the rest of her life.
The incident happened in August at Dr. Geoffrey Kim's Denver-area office.
Medical malpractice attorney David Woodruff contends in the lawsuit that nurse anesthetist Rex Meeker left Nguyen unattended for 15 minutes after being given anesthesia.
The lawsuit says negligence byMeeker and renowned plastic surgeon Dr. Geoffrey Kim, led to their daughter suffering permanent brain damage. According to the lawsuit, medical records show Dr. Kim used CPR to revive Kim after her first cardiac arrest. Just minutes, later, Nguyen suffered a second cardiac arrest, and was, once again, revived.
No one called 911 for more than five hours -- despite Nguyen being "neurologically unresponsive," at Kim's Greenwood Village, Colo. office.
Nguyen's mother, Lynn Fam, told CBS4:
We just really want to know what happened, what was the truth, what happened back there.
A recent graduate of Mountain Range High School in Westminster, Colo., Nguyen had saved up $6,000 to pay for the procedure herself.
Fam told CBS4:
I was fine with it. We didn’t think anything like that was going to happen to our daughter. I was a teenage girl once before. To us, it felt safe.
But that feeling of safety began to erode as what was supposed to be a two-hour procedure dragged on for hours into the late afternoon.
Fam said she had "kind of a weird feeling" as she says staff members "misled" her about what was happening with her daughter.
Fam says Dr. Kim had told her:
'Everything went fine, the only thing is we didn’t proceed with the procedure because her heart rate dropped but she is fine.' He said everything is fine, Emmalyn is fine, everything is good. She’s young, she’s healthy, she’ll be okay, it’s just taking her long to wake up.
At 7:35 p.m. that evening, nurse Meeker called 911 and Nguyen was rushed to the hospital.
After 22 days, she was taken to a rehabilitation center, where she still receives around-the-clock care. Nguyen is currently in a "minimally conscious state," meaning she's unable to talk, walk, eat, speak, or take care of herself.
Her severe brain damage means Nguyen will likely be in this condition for the rest of her life. Her family visits her every day.
Lynn Fam whispers to her daughter:
We’re all right here for you. We love you so much. Stay strong. We just want you to go home, we’re all waiting for you, ok?
Rex Meeker was involved in a similar situation in 2007 when he was the nurse anesthetist for Paula Harty, who died following complications from breast augmentation surgery.
Harty's family believes Meeker should not have been allowed to continue practicing following her death. Harty's daughter Brandy Swenson told CBS4:
They killed my mom, 100%. She would be alive today if they had done their jobs right.
Meeker was never disciplined by the state of Colorado.