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Society

Fake Doctor Denies Responsibility for Death of Three Cancer Patients

ATHENS – A 47-year-old man charged with posing as a doctor admitted he had no qualifications but said it wasn’t his fault that three cancer patients in his care died after he reportedly advised them to use quack remedies on the Internet and marijuana.

The suspect’s name had been withheld under Greek privacy laws but was finally identified as Nikos Kontothanasis by investigators to urge witnesses to come forward, as he was held in custody after testifying before a prosecutor.

He apologized to the families of the three patients but  denied he had told them to stop conventional treatments although acknowledging he had no medical training as he told them, but said he’s a self-declared expert on botany.

There was no report on whether he claimed to possess a medical license or degree or how he was able to operate or if he was affiliated with a hospital or the state health care syste4m or able to authorize prescriptions.

The three who died, allegedly due to failure of receiving proper treatment, were aged 14, 16, and 76 and he billed them a total of 58,000 euros ($65,043) but it wasn’t said either if they had state or private insurance and why he wasn’t caught through billing examinations.

The suspect, who has no genuine medical qualifications, was facing charges of manslaughter, fraud, and the production and use of counterfeit documents, and trafficking banned substances.

He faces three counts of murder over the deaths of two teenage boy patients and a 76-year-old man, as well as multiple counts of fraud and charges for other crimes, as investigators have been able to track down at least 45 individuals who came under his care.

Another 35 witnesses have come forward since the story broke, said Kathimerini in a report on his testimony and the case, including the family of a middle-aged man who died of cancer and the mother of a 17-year-old boy claiming that her son became wheelchair-bound as a result of the treatment prescribed by the suspect.

Kontothanasis was also sued on charges of taking 55 million euros ($61.88 million) from a Greek businessman between 2005-07 after claiming to have contacts with the United States government.

He claimed that he was acting on a decision of the US government to establish a firm that would sell telecoms equipment to countries and conceal American involvement, a story the duped man bought.

He was allegedly involved in at least 45 cases of deception, posing as a medical specialist with various false claims that included being an Air Force medic, a U.S.-trained pediatric oncologist, and an executive member of the International Red Cross.

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