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Creator of the 'pH Miracle' diet in court on new criminal charges

Robert Oldham Young has said he has a cure for cancer and other diseases. He faces a new round of charges for practicing without a license.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — The best-selling author and founder of the pH Miracle book series, Robert Young, was in court today, June 1, on new criminal charges that he treated terminally-ill patients without medical training, certifications, or college degrees.

Young, is the founder of the pH Miracle diet, a health regimen that, according to Young, can help fight cancer and other terminal diseases through a strict all-vegetable smoothie diet and IVs full of sodium bicarbonate - more commonly known as baking soda. 

At the heart of Young’s theory, is the belief according to his words is that “cancer is not a cell, but an acidic, poisonous liquid,” and can be treated by lowering the acidic levels in the blood. Young did just that, according to court documents, by injecting baking soda into patients’ bodies.

He did so at his sprawling 48-acre ranch in Valley Center in rural San Diego County.

On June 1, Young and his colleague, Galina Migalko, appeared in state court on charges that they took advantage of an elderly woman in the grips of liver and thyroid disease by pumping her with false hopes and promising her a cure. 

Young and Migalko face five felony counts including elder abuse resulting in great bodily harm or death, two counts of treating the sick and afflicted without a certificate, and theft of an elder.

The charges carry maximum sentences ranging from 4 years to 16 years. 

This is not the first time Young has been tried criminally for practicing medicine without a license.

In 1996 Young pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of practicing medicine without a license.

Then, in 2017, Young pleaded guilty to two felony counts of practicing medicine without a license. Young spent just over five months in prison in exchange for his plea agreement. 

During the 2017 criminal hearing, Young admitted, according to the appellate ruling, that he did not have “any post-high school educational degrees from any accredited schools", nor was he a "trained scientist." (Kali v. Young, D076121, 19 (Cal. Ct. App. Feb. 8, 2021)

The $105 Million Dollar Verdict

In 2018, a civil jury awarded cancer patient, Dawn Kali, $105 million dollars in a civil suit she brought against Young after he convinced her to forego medical treatment and chemotherapy and instead get treated at his pH Miracle Center in Valley Center. 

The trial judge later reduced the massive verdict to just over $25 million dollars.

CBS 8 spoke to Kali today from Northern California where she lives.

Kali said she is happy that Young is back before a judge but angry that he was allowed to continue to hurt those that trusted him with their lives.

"No verdict will make this ok. I as well as dozens of others will suffer for the rest of our lives," said Kali during a June 1 phone interview. "He is the worse kind of criminal. He is a fraud, who scares people away from the proper help they need. He took something that could never be repaid, the final months, days, of a person’s life, time that was meant to spend with loved ones. No verdict can ever change that." 

Added Kali, "Robert Young is a danger to society. He’s never cured a single person of anything, and he continues to prey upon people who are vulnerable, just to make money."

And yet, despite the criminal convictions and the 2018 civil verdict, prosecutors say Young continued to treat people for cancer and other terminal illnesses. 

According to the new criminal complaint, Young and his colleague Migalko treated a patient named Jane Clayson for liver and thyroid disease from September 2020 through January 2021.

Gina Darvas is the Deputy District Attorney who prosecuted Young in 2017 and will lead the District Attorney's new case against Young.

In a statement during Young’s arraignment hearing earlier this year, Darvas said Young “has a blatant disregard for the laws of the State of California that prohibit the unlicensed practice of medicine, and he refuses to distinguish between people who want to try his diet for general well-being and those who are critically ill and are endangered by his ‘treatments.’

Cancer and liver disease were not the only diseases that Young targeted. 

In September 2020, the Federal Trade Commission sent him a warning to stop spreading “unsubstantiated claims” about treatments and prevention for COVID-19.

Read the letter, “For COVID-19, no such study is currently known to exist for the product or service identified above. Thus, any coronavirus-related prevention or treatment claims regarding such product or service are not supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence. You must immediately cease making all such claims.”

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Young, nor his attorney, Brett Greenfield, would respond to a request for comment at today's court hearing. He is due back in court on July 7th.

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