Teen brain dead after breast implants
A devastated mother has revealed how her daughter is now in a coma and suffers from severe brain damage after a "safe" procedure to have her breasts enlarged allegedly went wrong.
Last summer, US-based Emmalyn Nguyen, 18, underwent "routine" breast implant surgery; however, while under anaesthetic it is understood she suffered two cardiac arrests.
Although the teenager was revived both times by her surgeon, Doctor Geoffrey Kim, she was found "neurologically unresponsive" and, it was later revealed, her nurse anaesthetist failed to alert emergency services for more than five hours.
Lynn Fam, Emmalyn's mother, said the family desperately needed to know the "truth" of what happened "back there", as their daughter now lived comatose in a hospital and required around-the-clock care.
As far as Ms Fam is concerned there shouldn't have been any problems with the procedure, one she said her 18-year-old daughter had saved $6000 for and that family and friends had previously undergone.
"I was fine with it," Ms Fam said during an interview with CBS4. "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."
As well as demanding answers as to why their healthy teenager is now "minimally conscious", the family also are suing Dr Kim and nurse anaesthetist Rex Meeker for alleged negligence.
According to a report by CBS4, the family's lawsuit, filed by lawyer David Woodruff, contends Emmalyn was left unattended and unobserved for 15 minutes after being given anaesthesia before a nurse noticed she was turning blue.
Further, her family alleges medical records show she was suffering a cardiac arrest during this period.
While her doctor performed CPR to revive her, she suffered a second cardiac arrest.
The lawsuit states it was hours before the nurse anaesthetist called emergency services for help.
Ms Fam said it was particularly distressing that at no point during the procedure was she alerted to the possibility of a problem.
She said what should have been a two-hour operation stretched on for hours more, and despite her continually asking for updates, she was repeatedly told "everything is fine".
When Dr Kim eventually spoke to her, Ms Fam said he told her "everything went fine", although the team didn't go ahead with the procedure because Emmalyn's heart rate dropped.
"He said everything is fine, Emmalyn is fine, everything is good. She's young, she's healthy, she'll be OK, it's just taking her long to wake up," Ms Fam said.
After emergency services were called to assist, five hours after she suffered a second cardiac arrest, Emmalyn was transported to Littleton Adventist Hospital where she spent 22 days.
Following this she was transported to a rehabilitation hospital where she currently receives around-the-clock medical care.
The 18-year-old is now in a "minimally conscious state". This means she is unable to speak, walk, eat or take care of herself.
According to the family, Emmalyn has suffered severe brain damage, and they believe there is every likelihood she will remain in this condition for the rest of her life.
"To me it's a miracle she pulled through all that and she is still fighting this. I don't know how they can sleep at night knowing they did this to her. They ruined Emmalyn's life, not just hers but all of ours," Ms Fam said.
If you are considering any type of plastic surgery, it is worth knowing that in Australia it is legal for any doctor with a basic medical degree to perform the procedure.
A statement on PlasticSurgery.org.au explains there is a difference between surgeons who perform cosmetic procedures and specialist surgeons.
"Specialist plastic surgeons have a minimum of 12 years medical and surgical education and five years of specialist postgraduate training," the statement reads.
"When making your decision in selecting your surgeon, remember that the Medical Board of Australia states that the "specialist plastic surgeon" title can only be used by Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS) approved specialist surgeons in the recognised specialty of plastic surgery."