Allegations of practicing without a license and charging $300 an hour for health care that included eating watermelon and soaking in a hot tub could land a San Jose alternative health care provider in prison for up to three years.
Eugene Vasin, 54, had had only brief medical training in his native Ukraine when he began treating a Belmont woman with multiple sclerosis as well as her ill daughter in 2009 and 2010, according to San Mateo County prosecutors.
The patient, Ronelle Kotter, died in December after years of battling the illness.
Vasin told Kotter that doctors at the UC San Francisco were wrong about her multiple sclerosis and she really had Lyme disease, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.
Vasin allegedly had her reduce the medication prescribed by UCSF doctors by half, then provided injections of Cerebrolysin, Poserin and vitamin B-12, Wagstaffe said.
Vasin also treated Kotter’s ailing daughter, telling her that Stanford doctors were wrong about her diagnosis of dermatomyositis, prosecutors said. He told her she had lupus and began treating her with vitamins, they said.
Vasin “convinced her that to help her kidneys she needed to eat watermelon in a hot tub,” Wagstaffe said.
Kotter’s family says the alternative method was one of many odd treatments prescribed by Vasin, many of which did not work.
Before their mother’s death, Kotter’s children reported Vasin to Belmont police. He was arrested earlier this year and is out of custody after posting the $30,000 bail.
Calls to Vasin and his attorney were not returned Tuesday.
One of Kotter’s daughters, Krystal, told The San Francisco Examiner that some of Vasin’s alternative treatments worked. Her mother whole-heartedly believed in Vasin’s treatments, she said.
Krystal Kotter said she believes a combination of alternative and western medical treatments can offer the best possible outcomes for patients.
However, the Kotters allege that Vasin took advantage of Ronelle until her death. Ronelle’s husband, Kenneth Kotter, said Vasin borrowed money from his wife to pay his rent and bills, then would pay her back with his pricey medical services. He would bill for everything such as the drive to a house call, emails and phone calls, Krystal said.
Vasin “repeatedly interfered as we tried to persuade Ronelle to use traditional medicine,” Kenneth Kotter said.
Vasin’s case is set for jury trial July 11.