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Man is accused of pretending to be a medical doctor

September 25, 2009 |  6:15 am

A man purporting to have a cure for cancer, AIDS and peanut allergies was arrested Thursday on suspicion of pretending to be a medical doctor, the Orange County district attorney’s office said.

Daryn Wayne Peterson, 37, was being held on $20,000 bail. He was featured in an Orange County Register article June 10; an online version of the article is headlined “ ‘Natural doctor’ says he can cure cancer, AIDS.”

The Register article discussed how Peterson charged his clients for listening to his approach to wellness, and how he encouraged them to drop their health insurance plans in favor of his “natural health insurance” plans, which the article said did not cover hospitalization or lab tests but did give patients a discount on vitamins and other supplements that he sold.

The Register article also quoted a UC Irvine Medical Center oncologist who disputed Peterson’s assertion that cancer patients who refuse chemotherapy live longer than those who are in remission.

In a statement, the Orange County district attorney’s office said it was “alarmed by the potential health risks to the community and the recklessness of the article” and launched an investigation into Peterson’s practice. The district attorney’s office also alleged that some of the patients featured in the Register article who spoke favorably of Peterson’s treatments were either friends or his blood relatives.

In the course of the investigation, the district attorney’s office sent an undercover investigator to Peterson to pose as a cancer patient scared of chemotherapy. Authorities alleged that Peterson met with the investigator at his Mira Loma apartment and told him that chemotherapy would kill him faster than cancer. The district attorney’s office alleged that Peterson gave the investigator a medical exam and told him that he should instead take the vitamins and natural supplements that Peterson sold.

The district attorney’s office also says Peterson of ran a website, www.naturalhealthcoverage.com, in which the “your doctors” section features Daryn Peterson and says he has a “Ph.D., HMD,” with a specialty of “internal medicine, natural medicine, toxicology, immunology and latrogenic diseases.” A catchphrase is listed: “No Disease is Incurable.”

Peterson, who could not be reached for comment late Thursday, is not licensed by the Medical Board of California.

—Rong-Gong Lin II