A 61-year-old Valley Center man accused of being a “fake doctor” pleaded not guilty Friday in San Diego to charges of practicing medicine without a license and grand theft.
Robert Oldham Young is accused of giving intravenous treatments to patients housed at his avocado ranch in northern San Diego County.
A co-defendant, Rocio “Rosie” Placensia, 32, also of Valley Center, is set to be arraigned next week.
“Offering intravenous medical treatments in an unlicensed facility not equipped to handle terminally ill patients creates a public health risk,” said Dist. Atty. Bonnie Dumanis, who referred to Young as a “fake doctor.”
Young runs a facility called the ph Miracle Center in Valley Center and has published a book, “The ph Miracle,” that advocates a diet meant to “alkalinize the body.”
When Young went beyond advocating a diet and began giving injections, he broke the law, prosecutors said. A dozen patients are mentioned in the charges, including several who died, reportedly of cancer.
Young is also being investigated by the Medical Board of California and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, prosecutors said. One patient paid Young $120,000, prosecutors said.
Young’s attorney, Paul Pfingst, told reporters that when injections were necessary, Young hired licensed doctors and nurses.
“Homeopathic medicine is protected by the California Legislature, which has said that the things that my client is accused of doing are legal,” Pfingst told KSWB-TV in San Diego. “The tension between the traditional medical community and the homeopathic medical community has been ongoing for many years.”