The Ukrainian “doctor” who advised one of his Belmont patients to eat a watermelon in a hot tub to heal her kidneys was sentenced to 30 days in county jail for practicing medicine without a California license.
Eugene Vasin, 54, pleaded no contest to the misdemeanor charges Friday.
Vasin 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.
He charged $300 an hour for alternative health care services.
The patient, Ronelle Kotter, died in December after years of battling the illness.
Vasin had Kotter reduce the medication prescribed by UCSF doctors by half, then provided injections of Cerebrolysin, Poserin and vitamin B-12, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve 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.
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 has been ordered to surrender to county jail on Aug. 13. He has also been instructed to abstain from practicing medicine, Wagstaffe said.