Bogus Naturopath (Laurence Perry)
Convicted of Manslaughter

Stephen Barrett, M.D.

On April 15, 2002, Laurence Perry was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and practicing medcine without a license in North Carolina and sentenced to 12-15 months in jail [1]. Perry was accused of improperly regulating the insulin dosage of a diabetic child who died as a result in 1999. The child's mother testified that Perry had said that the girl was was not a true diabetic, was addicted to insulin, and should stop taking it, even though she was getting sicker as the dosage decreased [2]. The case illustrates what can happen when our society permits individuals with bogus credentials to practice as health professionals.

Dubious Credentials

When the case surfaced, the local sheriff sent me copies of credentials and other documents in which Perry described his alleged education and training. Perry acquired most of them during the 1980s in connection with a "paper conglomerate" of phony health-related credentials that was launched in Indiana in 1983 as the American Nutritional Medical Association (ANMA) [3] A few others were obtained independently. Perry's "VITA" states that he was born in Chicago on June 7, 1953, graduated from Austin High School in Decatur, Alabama in 1972, and obtained an associate (2-year) degree from John C. Calhoun State Community College in 1978. His subsequent experiences and "credentials" included the following:

Further Danger

Naturopaths are now licensed in eleven states. North Carolina naturopaths who are graduates of four-year schools claim that the case illustrates a need to license naturopaths to protect consumers from others who call themselves naturopaths. However, naturopathy is so bizarre that there is no logical reason to believe that graduates of the "genuine" schools practice more rationally than the rest [4,5]. The appropriate way to protect consumers is to ban naturopathy altogether.

References

  1. Maxwell T. Naturopath found guilty in diabetic girl's death, practicing medicine without license. Ashville Citizen-Times, April 15, 2002.
  2. Maxwell T. Mother recounts daughter's death at Perry trial. Ashville Citizen-Times, April 9, 2002.
  3. Barrett S. American Nutrimedical Association. Quackwatch, revised April 16, 2002.
  4. Atwood K.: Why Naturopaths Should Not Be Licensed. Quackwatch,revised Dec 30, 2001.
  5. Barrett S. A close look at naturopathy. Quackwatch

This article was revised on April 16, 2002.

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