Fake Doctor Pleads Guilty to Practicing Without a License & Administering Unapproved Drugs in San Diego

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Kathleen Ann Helms, also known as Catherine Bright-Helms, age 57, of Encinitas, CA in August, 2012. She was charged with practicing medicine without a license, “which resulted in the infliction of great bodily injury and grand theft,” announced the FBI. She operated an unlicensed clinic called BrightHouse Wellness in Encinitas, CA and diagnosed patients as having Lyme Disease, then administered unapproved and dangerous intravenous treatments.

Who: Medical Board of California’s Operation Safe Medicine, FBI.

When: October 19, 2012; April-August, 2012.

Where: San Diego, CA, United States.

How: FBI began its investigation after two people treated by Helms filed complaints with the California Medical Board’s Operation Safe Medicine. One complaint claimed that she received four sets of combined treatments of animal cell injections and DMSO through an illegally installed peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) that ran from an extremity to a large vein in the chest near the heart. After the last treatment, the patient was hospitalized and placed in intensive care.

Additional details: There are four known victims of this medical scam, and authorities suspect there may be more. One of the victims has been permanently disabled by the treatments she was given.

Related sources:

"Press Release," FBI San Diego. August 14, 2012.

"Medical board steps up investigations of fake doctors," California Watch. November 7, 2012.

"Unlicensed Doc.'s Treatment Nearly Kills Woman: FBI,"NBC 7 News. August 15, 2012.

"Scripps Ranch woman admits she was a fake doctor," North County Times. June 15, 2012.

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