EL DORADO HILLS -- An El Dorado Hills chiropractor accused of practicing medicine without a license appeared in court Wednesday.
Diem Nguyen, who advertised herself as "Dr. Thyroid," was arrested in January after the California Department of Consumer Affairs say it caught her in an undercover sting -- performing a medical procedure she was not licensed to do.
Many former patients tell FOX40 they've lost thousands of dollars for treatment and medication they say made them sick.
Facing a Sacramento County judge Wednesday, Nguyen had four felony counts of practicing medicine without a license reduced to one.
"She really needs to be held accountable," one of Nguyen's former patients said. Several of her former patients spoke with FOX40 Wednesday under the condition of anonymity.
"No (the symptoms) got worse, and I've since had to go to real medical doctors who have since been helping me over the last couple of years," the patient said.
Nguyen prescribed strange pills and powders, some with her photo on the bottle.
"We don't know where they were bottled, we don't know how they were made," the patient told FOX40.
Those pills made them violently ill, they said.
"I was feeling nauseous and sick, hyper, I never felt so strange in my whole life."
When they told her about these side effects, they said Nguyen would just prescribe more pills.
Now these women worry about the long term medical effects using Nguyen's medication may have caused them.
What's worse, is until Nguyen's arrest, these former patients of hers had no idea she is only a licensed chiropractor, and not a medical doctor.
"I had always thought she was a thyroid specialist," the patient said. "When you're sick, and you've been around the block and you've been to many doctors, you kind of want to believe things in that moment, that someone can actually help you."
They hope their stories will help prevent others from seeking treatment without spending the time to research their doctor.
"I don't want other people to be hurt I don't want them to be out an enormous amount of money."
"I want to say that I felt stupid but that's not the right thing. You know when you're so sick you'll do anything, you'll pay anything."
Nguyen has been ordered by a judge to stop presenting herself as a medical doctor.
She will be back in court on May 15. A member of the attorney general's board of chiropractor examiners was also at Nguyen's hearing Wednesday to say Nguyen's license won't be revoked until after this criminal trial is over.
Editor's note: Nguyen would advertise herself as Dr. Thyroid on television, including on FOX40.