Physician guilty of manslaughter can still practice, board says

The Colorado state medical board is allowing a physician convicted of reckless manslaughter to continue practicing medicine, CBS News reported Aug. 31.

Geoffrey Kim, MD, a plastic surgeon, was found guilty June 14 of attempted reckless manslaughter and obstruction of telephone service after a patient died under his care. Emmalyn Nguyen, 18, underwent breast augmentation surgery in 2019 and fell into a coma, then went into cardiac arrest after receiving anesthesia. Dr. Kim waited five hours before calling 911. He will be sentenced Sept. 8 and faces up to three years in prison.

Dr. Kim was suspended from practicing Jan. 9, 2020, then placed on probation for three years with some restrictions. An Aug. 21 agreement between Dr. Kim and the medical board required him to inform patients in writing of his conviction but placed no other new restrictions on his practice.

The medical board said it was aware of the convictions but decided not to suspend his license. 

"There have been no final determinations regarding (Dr. Kim's) professional competence or professional conduct," wrote the board.

The new agreement was "an interim action," Lee Rasizer, public information officer for the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, told CBS News. "A felony conviction is considered unprofessional conduct [but] is not an automatic disqualifier from practice, rather, the board renders a decision relative to the information received and discipline is determined on a case-by-case basis. The board may still take further action once its investigation is complete."

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