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 . 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 . The case illustrates what can happen when our society permits individuals with bogus credentials to practice as health professionals.
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)  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:
- Sherman College of Chiropractic, Spartanburg, SC, 1978-81. [He apparently did not graduate.]
- John F. Kennedy College of Nutrimedical Arts and Sciences, Gary, IN, 1984-86. [An ANMA diploma mill]
- Registered Nutritional Consultant, ANMA, 1983. [Another bogus ANMA credential]
- Doctor of Nutritional Medicine (NMD) degree, John F. Kennedy College of Nutrimedical Arts and Sciences, 1986. [Another bogus ANMA credential]
- Board certification in clinical naturopathy, American College of Naturopathy, 1988. [A bogus ANMA board]
- Director, department of nutrition and pain management, Blue Ridge Health Clinic, Blowing Rock, NC. [A clinic run by Gregory E. Caplinger, an impostor who, in 1989, pled guilty to practicing without a license and is now serving a 12-year federal prison sentence for fraud]
- Certified Nutrimedicist, National Board of Nutrimedical Examiners of the International Alliance of Nutrimedical Associations, 1988, 1989. [Another bogus ANMA credential]
- "Holistic Alternative Practitioner" certificate, National Association of Chiropathy, 1989. [Another bogus ANMA credential]
- "Certification to practice the science and art of nutritional medicine according to the regulations of the A.M.N.A. and the laws of the State of South Carolina," 1984. [Another bogus ANMA credential]
- Professional member, ANMA, 1987.
- Certificate of Excellence: Iridology, Nutrition, Wholistic Healing, Bernard Jensen, clinical nutritionist. [Iridology is a pseudoscience based on the notion that virtually all illnesses can be diagnosed by examining the colored portion of the eye that surrounds the pupil. Jenson was a nutritionist only in his own mind.]
- Doctor of Medicine (eclectic/homeopathic) degree, British West Indies Medical College. [A nonexistent Caribbean school created by Gregory Caplinger. Perry's transcript states that he matriculated on 3/20/86 and graduated one year later after completing 5 "terms" of classes totaling 540 hours of course work, 6 clinical rotations totaling 2000 hours, 3 dissertations (760 hours), 2 research papers, and an oral examination, all presumably while functioning as "Director of the Nutrition, Education and Research Center in Spartanburg, SC." However, Perry's "VITA" document states that his degree involved "1500 study hours."]
- Doctor of Science in "pastoral wellness sciences," Lafayette University, 1989. [Another bogus ANMA credential]
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.
- Maxwell T. Naturopath found guilty in diabetic girl's death, practicing medicine without license. Ashville Citizen-Times, April 15, 2002.
- Maxwell T. Mother recounts daughter's death at Perry trial. Ashville Citizen-Times, April 9, 2002.
- Barrett S. American Nutrimedical Association. Quackwatch, revised April 16, 2002.
- Atwood K.: Why Naturopaths Should Not Be Licensed. Quackwatch,revised Dec 30, 2001.
- Barrett S. A close look at naturopathy. Quackwatch
This article was revised on April 16, 2002.