Breast enhancement surgery leaves Colorado teen with severe brain damage

DENVER, C.O. -- Emmalyn Nguyen was active, independent and always smiling. But that's not her life anymore after a breast enhancement surgery went tragically wrong.

She's now hospitalized in a minimally conscious state, unable to talk, eat or move.

"It's really hard to see her like this," her mom, Lynn Fam, told KCNC. "From perfectly healthy, really active to being like this."

She visits every day.

In August, the 18-year-old who had always been self-conscious about her body, went to a plastic surgery office in Colorado for a $6,000 breast augmentation.

"To us, it felt safe," her mom said. "We didn't think that anything like this was going to happen to our daughter."

But, according to a newly-filed lawsuit, after being given anesthesia, Emmalyn was left unattended for 15 minutes before a nurse noticed she was turning blue.

Her family says medical records show she had suffered cardiac arrest.

"If someone was there to watch her the whole time, this would have never happened," her father said.

Her family said medical staff performed CPR but she suffered a second cardiac arrest.

In their lawsuit, Emmalyn's family said it was five hours before the nurse anesthetist called 911.

"She's not conscious," the nurse said to dispatchers.

"When an entire team of healthcare professionals realizes she's in cardiac arrest, they perform CPR then they don't call 911 for five and a half hours. That's unconscionable," the family attorney David Woodruff said.

After 22 days, she was transported to a rehabilitation hospital where she now receives around-the-clock medical care.

Emmalyn's family said they still haven't received an explanation from the doctor who performed the procedure.

They said the lawsuit won't bring their daughter back but could provide answers.
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