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Greenwood Village plastic surgeon sentenced in connection with young patient's death

Geoffrey Kim was convicted by a jury in June 2023
Emmalyn Nguyen
Posted at 1:47 PM, Nov 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-17 13:53:29-05

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. — A plastic surgeon from Greenwood Village has been sentenced after a jury convicted him in connection with a 19-year-old patient's death.

Geoffrey Kim was sentenced to 15 days in jail, followed by two years probation, according to the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office. In addition, he must complete 120 hours of community service and pay a $50,000 fine.

He faced a maximum of three years in prison, which prosecutors asked for.

A jury found him guilty of attempted reckless manslaughter and obstruction of telephone service on June 14 in connection with the death of 19-year-old Emmalyn Nguyen, or Thornton, who was administered anesthesia and then slipped into a coma and went into cardiac arrest on Aug. 1, 2019. She came to Kim's clinic for a breast augmentation procedure when she was 18 years old.

Emmalyn Nguyen

She was eventually rushed to Littleton Adventist Hospital, where doctors determined she had a severe anoxic brain injury due to the prolonged cardiac arrest. Nguyen spent three weeks at the hospital and was then transferred to Vibra Hospital for rehab. She died at 19 in a nursing home a year later, in October 2020. That month, her family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Kim.

On Jan. 9, 2020, Kim's medical license was suspended. In February 2022, he was arrested.

During Kim's trial, a nurse anesthetist testified that he had told Kim that the patient should be brought to a hospital and they should call 911. Based on the investigation, Kim did not call for help for five hours after Nguyen went into cardiac arrest, according to the district attorney's office.

The obstruction charge stemmed from the fact that Kim would not let several medical professionals in the office to call 911 and ask for transfer care for Nguyen, the DA said.

“We understand medical procedures don’t always go as planned, but this defendant showed a shocking and extreme lack of judgment and humanity by failing to call for an ambulance and denying his patient appropriate treatment in a hospital setting,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Gary Dawson said after the jury came back with a guilty verdict. “Patients put their trust in doctors and the outcome might have been different had the defendant sought appropriate medical care. This defendant made decisions based on what was best for his business and not for his patient.”

Kim's license to practice medicine in Colorado was suspended effective at 8 a.m. on Nov. 17 and will remain so "until resolution of this matter," according to the Colorado Medical Board.

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