Phony Naturopath Receives 15-Year Prison Sentence

Stephen Barrett, M.D.

In August 2013, The Florida Department of Health's (DOH) West Palm Beach-Unlicensed Activity (ULA) Unit announced the arrest of 37-year-old Lynnette Blake who operated the Back to Eden Wellness Center in Stuart, Florida. A joint investigation with the Martin County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) arrested Blake on twelve counts: five for the unlicensed practice of a health care profession, five for the unlicensed practice of naturopathy, and two counts for the unlicensed practice of dentistry. Each of these is a third degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. The DOH also issued cease-and-desist orders to Blake for the unlicensed practice of medicine, naturopathy, and dentistry. DOH also issued three uniform unlicensed activity citations.

On August 6th, a search warrant was executed by MCSO for Back to Eden Wellness Center, where Blake told members of DOH and MCSO that she was a naturopathy doctor practicing naturopathic medicine. Blake claimed that as a member of the Pastoral Medical Association, she was exempt from Florida laws requiring licensing for health care professions. Several arriving patients were also interviewed. Two of the patients stated Blake had performed dental services on them, including placing teeth bleaching substances into their mouths.

The joint operation began after several victims filed complaints with DOH alleging Blake practiced health care professions without a license. One such complaint claimed that while under Blake's supervision, a clinic employee took many vials of blood, causing the patient to nearly faint. The patient requested ambulatory transfer to an emergency room, at which time Blake and the employee failed to contact medical services and instead gave the patient water and kiwi fruit from their own lunch bags. The investigation included several visits in which investigators posed as patients.

During 2014, Blake pleaded no contest to 50 related charges and was sentenced to 5 years in prison for each charge, with three to run consecutively and the rest concurrently, for a total of 15 years. During the sentencing hearing the judge said she was shocked by the extent of fake documents Blake had put together [2].

WPTV-TV ran a series of stories that showed the inside of Blake's office and described what had happened to a cancer patient she had treated her eight times. The reports indicated that Blake claimed to be a cancer survivor and a nurse, had the initials ND, Ph.D., and DM(P) embroidered on her white coat, and had displayed five framed "credentials" on her wall [3,4]. One report also noted that since 2008, the Florida Department of Health had disciplined more than 2,100 people for unlicensed practice.

In 2012, when Blake spoke at a Cancer Control Society convention, her biographical sketch included the following representations:

LYNNETTE BLAKE, LPN, ND, DM(P) started her education in Nursing at Columbus State College of Nursing in Ohio in 1999. After completion she then went to further her education at Ohio University in Lancaster. She was recently licensed through the Pastoral Medical Association with a License of Doctor of Pastoral Medicine.

In late 2006, she discovered that she had cervical cancer for the second time and started traditional treatment of chemotherapy and radiation. In 2007, after eight types of chemotherapy and ten rounds of radical radiation and having been given 6 months to live, she turned to Alternative Cancer Treatments, having learned that Juicing, Amygdalin, Vitamin C and other supplements might be more helpful. By October 2008 all cancer was gone from her body. She continued treatment for 14 months and has remained in remission. Soon after becoming cancer free, Lynnette wanted to tell her story, which led to the first printing of her book, The Heavenly Cure for Cancer… Is There One?. A second edition has recently come out.

Publication of the book motivated Lynnette to seek her Degree at Trinity Christian in Naturopathic Medicine. After completing her training in 2010, she opened her own Wellness Center, Back to Eden, in Stuart, Florida with her husband Jason Blake. They have teamed up with Deborah De Marta, M.D. of the Institute of Colorectal Health and Wellness to create a center for patients who are terminal or are seeking Alternative Therapies for cancer. Back To Eden offers Juicing, Supplements, Chelation Therapies, IV Therapies, IV Vitamin C, Amygdalin, Plant Stem Cell and many other up-and-coming treatment options. The Clinic also offers state-of-the-art Thermography, Ultrasound and many other diagnostic tools [5].

Although the topic of her talk was "My Recovery From Cervical Cancer Using Laetrile, Enzymes, Vitamin C & Other Therapies," her book states that she was treated chemotherapy and radiation for many months.

Blake is one of hundreds (or perhaps thousands) of practitioners who have been "licensed" by the Texas-based Pastoral Medical Association (PMA), which asserts that transactions between its provider and consumer members are private and not subject to government regulation. Whether this will protect any of the providers remains to be seen.

References

  1. Joint investigation leads to arrests in Martin County. Florida Department of Health news release, Aug 19, 2013.
  2. Ivice P. Woman who posed as doctor gets 15 years in prison. TC Palm, Aug 1, 2014.
  3. Cases highlight problem in med spa industry. Feb 24, 2014.
  4. LaGrone K. Lynnette Blake: No contest plea for ex wellness center owner accused of posing as doctor. WPTV, West Palm Beach, June 5, 2014.
  5. Lynette Blake, LPN, ND, DM(P). Cancer Control Society Web site, accessed Jan 18, 2016.

This page was re visedon January 18, 2016.

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