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Holistic medicine practitioner in Wheat Ridge faces more charges

Wheat Ridge - A holistic medicine practitioner in Wheat Ridge was arrested and charged Wednesday with felony theft, criminal impersonation, and several charges of assault on his patients.

Brian O'Connell, 36, is accused of lying to his patients and hurting them, rather than helping them get better. He was first arrested in March for practicing medicine without a license.One of O'Connell's patients told 9NEWS that he stole part of their son's life.When chemotherapy could no longer stop the cancer attacking 19-year-old Sean Flanagan, and he had only months left to live, his family turned to alternative medicine. They paid $7,000 to O'Connell at the Mountain Area Naturopathic Associates in Wheat Ridge."When you're talking about somebody's life, you don't care what the cost is. We would sell anything besides our kids to help our children," said Flanagan's mother, Laura, adding, "We thought he was a physician, a pharmacist. We thought he had all these types of degrees."She says O'Connell convinced them he could help their son with a treatment called photoluminescence. The family says he withdrew some of Sean's blood, ran it under ultraviolet light, and then re-injected it, along with hydrogen peroxide."Brian O'Connell told us that this would help him, so we were just grasping at straws hoping this was going to be the answer," Laura said. But instead of getting better, each treatment seemed to make Sean worse. After just four treatments in less than a week, he died. "Sean had a really rough night. And unfortunately we woke up the next morning and his skin was yellow. We knew that his liver function, kidney function was shutting down," Laura said. Sean passed away that day, months before his doctors predicted he would. His family says that time was stolen by a man who's been arrested for allegedly lying to them about his medical credentials.They say O'Connell took advantage of their desperation, and took from them the precious last few days of their son's life."When you're dying, every second counts," Laura said. Laura is working to get legislation passed that would require naturopaths to be licensed in Colorado. Because there is no regulation in the state, she says families like hers have no good way to verify a naturopath's credentials.O'Connell referred to himself as a naturopathic doctor.