Controversial Decision: Convicted Plastic Surgeon Allowed to Practice Medicine

A team of plastic surgeons prepare to operate on a sedated patient.

Despite being convicted of attempted reckless manslaughter, Dr. Geoffrey Kim, the plastic surgeon responsible for the botched procedure and later death of Emmalyn Nguyen, is now permitted to continue practicing medicine in Colorado.

An agreement between Dr. Kim and the Colorado Medical Board mandates the doctor to inform patients about his conviction. Beyond that, however, there are no restrictions on his medical practice, sparking outrage and questions about the integrity of the medical board.

It definitely raises eyebrows among the legal community as well. Lawyers like Sean Olson, lead attorney at Olson Personal Injury Lawyers, represents patients in medical malpractice cases all the time, and victims always hope that legal action leads to some form of just consequence for doctors who fail to provide the care patients expect from a licensed practitioner.

After all, compensation is fine, but you can’t really buy the life of a loved one back after they’ve gone, right?

The 2019 Case of Emmalyn Nguyen

To recall, 18-year-old Emmalyn Nguyen approached Dr. Kim in August 2019 for breast augmentation surgery. She tragically went into cardiac arrest after being administered anesthesia.

Dr. Kim stated on record that he did not call 911 until five hours had elapsed. Ms. Nguyen suffered brain damage and entered a coma that lasted 14 months before she passed from medical complications.

On June 14 of this year, a jury convicted Dr. Kim of attempted reckless manslaughter and obstructing telephone service – a felony and a misdemeanor, respectively. He now faces up to three years in prison, to be determined at his sentencing hearing on September 8, the same day this post is being written.

Was the Board’s Decision Fair?

When Attorney Sean Olson went on CBS on August 31, he couldn’t overstate how disappointed he was at the Board’s decision. They had already suspended Dr. Kim’s license in 2020, a month after Nguyen’s passing, before placing him on probation for three years, so it came as a shock to him that they wouldn’t do so after he was convicted by a jury.

Instead, the board stated there were “no final determinations regarding professional competence or professional conduct.”

Lee Rasizer of the Department of Regulatory Agencies stated that the agreement between Dr. Kim and the board is an interim action. He noted how felonies are considered unprofessional conduct but do not, by default, disqualify physicians from practicing.

Rasizer’s words suggest the medical board may be discussing other options, but for now – and until the board completes its investigation – there is no publicly available information on what other courses of action might be on the table.

The board cited the need for due process, which is fair. But then it is also fair for people hoping for justice for Emmalyn to feel that in such a massive breach of trust by a doctor, the board’s response leaves much to be desired.

[H2] Call the Olson Personal Injury Lawyers to Get Justice in a Medical Malpractice Case

This case underscores the importance of robust oversight and the need for accountability in the medical profession. To this end, Olson Personal Injury Lawyers does its part to help victims of medical malpractice achieve some form of justice.

Work with a professional medical malpractice lawyer from Olson Personal Injury Lawyers today. Call us at 720-730-4325, and we’ll review your case and talk about the legal options you can take.