A San Diego jury has ordered the author of the bestselling pH Miracle books to pay a large sum to a cancer patient.
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, naturopathic practitioner Robert Oldham Young was ordered to pay $105 million to Dawn Kali, a mother-of-four who said that Young falsely promised to cure her breast cancer.
The 66-year-old Young has written several books, which include the bestselling The pH Miracle: Balance Your Diet, Reclaim Your Health, which was first published in 2002. The book became so popular it has been translated into several languages.
Young’s books are about holistic healing and an alkalarian lifestyle. His works and treatments were based on the idea that acidity in the body is the cause of diseases and that an alkaline diet is the answer to these physical woes.
Kali sued Young in 2015 alleging negligence and fraud, saying that he had advised her to forego chemotherapy and traditional treatment, and instead pursue treatment that is in line with his alkaline theories.
Kali claimed that Young advised her to delay regular chemotherapy treatment and instead spend thousands on colon cleansing, massages and baking soda infusions at Young’s Valley Center retreat.
The treatment is rather expensive. Young’s treatment of intravenous liquids mixed with baking soda cost as much as $500 each.
Kali eventually sought medical help in 2013 when her cancer spread to her bones. She now has stage four cancer. Her doctor has also advised her that she has about three to four years to live.
The jurors on Wednesday ordered Young to pay medical expenses and damages to Kali.
The $105 million award is more than double what the woman originally sought. It includes nearly $90 million for pain and suffering and $15 million as punitive damages.
The judge called Young a fraud on Friday. Deputy District Attorney Gina Darvas said that the author took advantage of desperate dying people with his pseudoscience.
She also said that Young’s degrees were from a non-accredited “diploma mill” where Young managed to earn a doctorate in just eight months in 1995.
Patrick Swan, one of Kali’s lawyers, said that his terminally-ill client feels vindicated by the verdict.
“The jury listened carefully and understood the gravity of the evidence, and rendered a verdict that was commensurate with the damage Ms Kali suffered, and will suffer,” Swan said.
The lawyer also hopes that the verdict could have an effect on the “miracle, cure-all cancer industry.”
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