Bogus doctor sold Aids blood 'remedy': 'Appalling' risk to life condemned

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A FAKE doctor who sold a 'unique' pounds 160 treatment for all diseases is being investigated by the Metropolitan Police for fraud and assault after taking blood and urine from Aids patients 'to manufacture into a remedy for the disease'. His activities have brought to light a chain of dozens of clinics across Britain which sell the remedy, called Signalysis.

Aids experts say that the 'doctor's' safety standards, seen on a secret film, were 'appalling . . . the lives of patients, workers, and even casual passers-by were put at risk for the sake of a bogus therapy'.

Milo Siewert, 64, an American who runs the 'Dorset Natural Health Centre' in Poole and a one-day-a-week clinic in Neal's Yard Therapy Rooms in Covent Garden, London, calls himself 'Dr' and tells his patients in a promotional leaflet that he is an 'experienced medical practitioner'. But he is not registered with the General Medical Council and has no legally valid medical qualification.

Mr Siewert's leaflet says that his main medical speciality is 'colonic irrigation' - the washing out of patients' rectums as a purported medical treatment.

In footage secretly filmed for a television programme to be shown tonight, Mr Siewert is seen taking blood from Mark, an Aids patient, in highly dangerous circumstances. He did not wear gloves or sterilise the patient's skin before inserting a needle. After finishing, he threw the infected needle into an ordinary bin, and put the infected blood into a Jiffy bag to post it.

After the incident, before Christmas, and after determining that Mr Siewert was not qualified to practise medicine, the Health and Safety Executive asked the police to take charge. Taking blood from someone who thinks they are being treated by a real doctor can be considered a serious criminal assault.

Asked during the interview about the Signalysis system, Mr Siewert told his patient: 'Blood and urine is taken and put into a machine that boils it down to form a crystal.' Then the crystal was studied and mixed with herbs to create a special remedy.

Leaflets from the Signalysis company claim that this method can detect 'minute metabolic changes . . . therefore early preventative treatment is possible before clinical symptoms appear.'

Professor John Garrow, professor of human nutrition at St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, studied this system when it was first put on sale five years ago. He said: 'It cannot conceivably be scientifically sound or reasonable. I think it is absurd and fraudulent.'

Despite this, the Signalysis company has failed to respond to letters asking it to provide any medical or scientific explanation at all for the procedures its follows.

The directors of Signalysis are Kenneth Spelman, a retired town planner and property company director, and his wife, Rosemary. The remedies are prepared in a converted outhouse beside their home in Rodborough Common, near Stroud, Gloucestershire.

They have each claimed to be Doctors of Science (DSc) from the 'Open International University'. These degrees - which are now omitted from the Spelmans' stationery - are sold by a private acupuncture clinic in Colombo, Sri Lanka, for about USdollars 300 ( pounds 206). They have no status in Sri Lanka or any other country.

The Spelmans' laboratory was also filmed by the undercover television team. During the trip, Mrs Spelman explained that she and her staff boiled up blood and urine in distillation 'flasks'. These appear to be ordinary domestic pans. The distilled crystal, she claimed, could tell them everything about a patient's health.

Mrs Spelman said the last stage of Signalysis was to combine herbs with blood and urine. This was put into bottles of personal remedies to be posted back to their patients.

The footage shot in the laboratory showed the Spelmans and their staff apparently handling and processing a stream of fresh blood and urine samples, without taking essential health precautions against cross-contamination.

Two weeks ago, Mr and Mrs Spelman were asked in a letter if they understood that the handling of fresh blood and urine samples from many different people - including samples known to be infected with HIV and other pathogens - raised questions about the safety of what they were doing for patients, employees, and anyone else, others who might incidentally be exposed to their activities or products. They declined to reply.

The Signalysis remedies the Spelmans sold to Mark, the Aids patient, were tested last month at St Bartholomew's. Bacteria found in two of four bottles he was sent were found to be a potential risk to him.

The Health and Safety Executive has expressed 'concern' about unsafe practices and other problems in London and Stroud. They intend to act following police investigations into assault and fraud allegations involving Mr Siewert.

Undercover Britain; Channel 4, 9pm tonight.

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