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Family awarded settlement after teen dies following breast augmentation surgery

Heather Skold

DENVER, Colo. (KRDO) -- The family of Emmalyn Nguyen was recently awarded $2 million after the 18-year-old got a botched breast augmentation in 2019.

Insurance companies for plastic surgeon Dr. Geoffrey Kim and certified registered nurse anesthetist Rex Meeker, paid $1 million, respectively, settling out of court after a malpractice suit. Both men refused to contribute their own personal assets after the tragedy.

Emmalyn Nguyen

The settlement ends a saga that's spanned two years for Nguyen's family.

Shortly after going under general anesthesia at the Greenwood Village-based Colorado Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery Center, Emmalyn Nguyen stopped breathing and later went into cardiac arrest. It was 15 minutes before anyone checked on her. Five and a half hours later, Meeker called 911 for help.

The teen who wanted to travel the world and vlog about her experiences was left unresponsive and unable to move or speak. She spent 14 months in a long-term care facility before passing away from complications.

Her family's attorney released this statement:

"The family is heartbroken at losing Emmalyn and is ready to move on to the next chapter in their lives, cherishing their memories of her short 18 years of life. Because of our laws, much of the money recovered will actually be repaid to Medicaid, but the family really had no choice because Dr. Kim did not have enough insurance and refused to contribute his own personal assets. There is indeed no price on the life of this beautiful, ambitious young woman who was needlessly killed by medical negligence."

David Woodruff, Denver Trial Lawyers

The Colorado Department of Regulatory Affairs shows Dr. Geoffrey Kim's license as "active with conditions," but does not specify the conditions; Rex Meeker's RN license is active, but he cannot practice.

See KRDO Newschannel 13's prior story on Nguyen here.

Health / Health / Local News

Heather Skold

Heather is the evening anchor for KRDO. Learn more about Heather here.



  1. Why would money have to be repaid to medicaid? Why did this girl even think she needed surgery! Why did they wait five hours? What a tragidy.

  2. I’ve been following this since it occurred. Total medical negligence. Too bad Medicare gets the $$. Two million is not enough for this girls life. A true tragedy.

  3. Sad situation. Was so desperate for surgery and didn’t choose the best place. In the end the cost was her own life. Society now days puts to much focus on being like(for example) the Kardashians. Young girls are being pushed to conform to this image to be popular or accepted. If you body doesn’t match that you have to change it to be happy.

  4. Not sure why so many women think they have to have large breasts to be attractive. I, for one, prefer smaller and more natural. Most of the guys who drool over big ones are not the brightest bulbs in the box. Ladies, don’t disfigure yourselves! If a guy doesn’t love you for the way you are, he isn’t worth your time!

  5. Incompetence truly. But what responsible medical person or parent would encourage such a young girl to have such an invasive surgery?

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