People who are apparently patients of Daryn Peterson have set up an online legal defense fund -- www.DrDarynPetersonDefenseFund.com -- for the "natural doctor" the Orange County District Attorney's office has branded a fake.
The 37-year-old Las Vegas resident was arrested and charged late last week with unauthorized practice of medicine, operating a health care service plan without a license, treating cancer without a license, offering an unapproved drug for cancer treatment, and misrepresenting himself as a licensed medical practitioner.
Prosecutors allege Peterson has been practicing medicine without a license and making outlandish claims about curing cancer and AIDS, but his defense-fund page claims he "has a verifiable Ph.D. in Bio-Science and is board certified by the AAMA (American Alternative Medicial Association) as an alternative medical practitioner."
There are tabs on the page indicating $75, $100 and $250. "Please click on the donation you can do," visitors are instructed. "You can do this as many times as you like. When this ordeal is over, Dr. Peterson will speak to you personally to thank you!"
His practice came to light in a June 10 Orange County Register story by reporter Courtney Perkes titled, "A Rejection of Western Medicine." (The online version was headlined, "Natural Doctor Says He Can Cure Cancer, AIDS.")
The Peterson defense site does some reporting of its own.
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"For reasons beyond logic, Dr. Peterson now must defend himself in court against charges the D.A. has decided to bring against him all stemming from a very slanderous article written by an OC Register reporter this last June. Many loyal people from all over the country are ready to support Dr. Peterson, because they all have been helped so much by his supplements, which have always been made from food only. Please donate now to the Dr. Daryn Peterson Defense Fund so justice can prevail!"
According to a statement issued last week by the DA's office, Peterson has yet to produce data to prove his assertions, but Internet advertisements and cable TV infomercials have been produced to push his claims. The DA's office zeroed in particular on the Register story.
"The article featured Peterson, a self-proclaimed doctor, claiming to cure cancer and AIDS, and encouraging 'patients' to cancel their health insurance policies," read the DA statement. "In the article, Peterson represents that his supplements have cured 'cancer, AIDS, peanut allergies and heart failure.' That morning, alarmed by the potential health risks to the community and the recklessness of the article, the OCDA began an investigation into the matter."
The results of the DA's investigation is based on an undercover officer who signed up as a patient on Peterson's Natural Health Care Organization website.