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Cancer scam doctor refused bail
July 16, 2006


Hellfried Sartori, the discredited Austrian doctor, after he was arrested in Thailand this week. Photo: AP
Thai police have refused a bail application by the discredited Austrian doctor arrested last week pending investigations by Australian police into the deaths of at least six of his former "patients".

Hellfried Sartori, 67, faces two charges in Thailand - one of impersonating a doctor and the other of fraud - and police say he will appear in court in the northern city of Chiang Mai "soon".

Australian Police say four of the Australian cancer sufferers treated by Sartori died in May and June last year after having caesium chloride treatments at a Mosman Park clinic in Perth, WA.

Two other cancer sufferers are reported to have had the same treatment in Australia, but it is not known in which state.

The dead included a US citizen visiting Australia for the treatment, two Perth residents, one from Victoria and one each from NSW and South Australia.

In an interview with AAP in his jail cell last week Sartori, whose Austrian passport has been confiscated by Thai police, insisted he was still a registered physician in some parts of the world, though not in Thailand where he said he acted only as a "technician" while nurses injected patients with chemicals that police have said were dangerous.

But it is now known that three weeks ago the General Medical Council, which regulates doctors in Britain, issued interim orders banning Sartori until December 2007.

In the United States, Sartori's medical licence has been suspended by more than a dozen states. He was jailed in New York in 1992 and Washington DC in 1998 over his promotion of caesium chloride injections as a cancer therapy.

And police in Perth have revealed that Sartori was refused entry to Australia last year, and that investigators have been waiting for over a year for the results of pathology and toxicology tests that might throw some light on why the six Australian cancer patients died in Australia between May and June last year.

Sartori's lawyer, Supawat Pornjirayuwat told AAP: "I have spoken to the police chief and he said my client will not be released because of ongoing investigations in other countries.

"But I will make a renewed bail application again tomorrow (Monday) because the charges against Mr Sartori here are not too serious.

"Even if he was to be convicted, the maximum sentence he could face would be five years imprisonment."

Last week, Keith Preston of Darwin, whose wife Kathleen died two years ago in a Chiang Mai hospital following treatment by Sartori, said he forgave the accused man who, he said, had done all he could to save his wife's life after she had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

Mr Preston said that he and his wife had travelled to a number of countries, including Mexico, Singapore and, finally, Thailand in search of a cure after Australian doctors had given up all hope of saving Mrs Preston's life.

Bail denied to Austrian doctor over fraud
By Ian Black - 17-07-2006 - From: AAP

THAI police have refused a bail application by a discredited Austrian doctor arrested last week pending investigations by Australian police into the deaths of at least six of his former "patients".

Hellfried Sartori, 67, faces two charges in Thailand - one of impersonating a doctor and the other of fraud - and police say he will appear in court in the northern city of Chiang Mai "soon".

Australian police say four of the Australian cancer sufferers treated by Mr Sartori died in May and June last year after having caesium chloride treatments at a Mosman Park clinic in Perth.

Two other cancer sufferers are reported to have had the same treatment in Australia, but it is not known in which state.

The dead included a US citizen visiting Australia for the treatment, two Perth residents, one from Victoria and one each from NSW and South Australia.

Perth police revealed that Mr Sartori was refused entry to Australia last year.

Dr Ozone's long history of preying on the terminally ill

Hellfried Sartori, the discredited Austrian doctor, after he was arrested in Thailand this week. Photo: AP
Martin Daly and Leonie Wood

HELLFRIED Sartori, the convicted felon and discredited Austrian doctor who used industrial solvent as a remedy for terminal illnesses, has a history of alleged fraud, corruption and malpractice spanning more than two decades in 14 American states.

Known in the US as the notorious Dr Ozone, Sartori served five years jail in Virginia from 1999 and nine months in a New York jail in 1996.

His unorthodox health remedies are being investigated in connection with the deaths of cancer sufferers in Australia and Thailand.

Sartori was arrested in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai this week and charged with fraud and practising medicine without a licence. He claims he has committed no crime.

WA police are also interested in Sartori's practices. They are waiting for results of toxicology and pathology tests obtained from post mortems of seven cancer patients in Perth who died in quick succession in May and June 2005.

Sartori was not in Australia at the time; he had been barred from entering the country in May 2005. But police are investigating if the six Australians and one American patient who died in Perth received treatments by local adherents of Sartori's radical practices.

US legal sources revealed that Sartori eluded a possible long jail term in the late 1980s when the family of a US patient, who died after enduring his treatment, refused to have him charged with manslaughter because they were too distressed.

"He would be still in jail now had he been convicted of manslaughter in Virginia where the charges were brought," said a legal source close to the case. "He would have got 20 years."

That would have seriously curtailed the damage the disgraced medico inflicted on patients in several US states and overseas.

Hellfried Erwin Sartori, also known as Hellfried Eric Sartori or Professor Abdul-Haqq Sartori, migrated to the States in 1976. He was arrested and jailed three times over the next 25 years on various charges, including practising medicine without a licence.

Sartori is hailed by some of his terminally ill patients as a potential saviour. To others, he is cynical and motivated by greed as he inflicts great pain on patients using processes that have no medical validity.

According to one lawyer who prosecuted him for practising without a licence, Sartori had promised patients his medicine "would cure anything". He won supporters among the terminally ill and their families who believed they had been deserted by conventional medicine.

Another lawyer, Glenn Franklin Koonst, who defended Sartori in a criminal trial in Virginia, said: "He was convinced of his ability to cure people. He really believed in what he was doing."

One of Sartori's treatments involved injecting patients with dimethylsulfoxide, or DMSO, a controversial solvent believed by some to ease the pain of arthritis. He also injected caesium chloride and ozone into cancer patients, flushed their bowels with coffee enemas and intravenously administered super-high doses of vitamins and minerals.

One US legal source told The Age how Sartori laughed as an anguished family called an ambulance after a patient collapsed.

"He was a greedy, arrogant man who thought he could do no wrong," said the former associate. "He talked about helping people but he has no hesitation in charging people heavily for his services. He didn't do anything for nothing.

"They caught him eventually and put him in jail. But a lot of other people who are just as guilty as him got away. They are the people who bankrolled him, who set him up in clinics and who gave him the infrastructure to do this. He could not have done this on his own.

"As soon as he was arrested in Virginia, they (Sartori's supporters) closed down the clinic and skipped town, along with the money they made from Sartori."

Todd Sanders, the lawyer who successfully prosecuted Sartori in Virginia, seven years ago, told The Age this week that he was saddened to learn Sartori had continued to practise overseas, despite his long and well documented history of strike-outs in the US.

Mr Sanders, now with the Leesburg, Virginia, law firm Sanders & Kissler, noted that the judge and the jury had been determined that Sartori would serve his full jail term without remission or parole.

He said Sartori had caused untold suffering. Two victims told the court of great pain they suffered during the treatment and how one of them, as a result, had suffered a stroke and the other a heart attack.

He said prosecutors at one stage wanted to pursue a possible manslaughter charge, but the family of a patient who had died declined to give evidence at the trial because the ordeal would be too distressing.

"You can understand that," he said. "The person (who died) was so terminally ill that had he (Sartori) been charged (with manslaughter), he would have said that person would have died anyway."

He has reportedly advertised himself in Washington as a specialist in 25 fields of medicine, including pediatrics, psychiatry, gastroenterology, child neurology, rheumatology, pulmonary disease and aerospace medicine.

In 1981, the Maryland Medical Commission reviewed Sartori's practices and eventually found that he had relied on invalidated and "medically inappropriate" techniques that might "endanger the patient's health, safety and welfare".

It ruled he was "professionally incompetent" and banned him from practising medicine in that state.

Sartori told The Washington Post at the time that he was being "persecuted by the forces of traditional medicine".

But before the Maryland ban was imposed, Sartori had shifted interstate — with tragic results for his unsuspecting patients.

The problem with keeping track of banned doctors in the US is that the state-based medical boards are often secretive, and information about dangerous medicos is given only to a few agencies, hospitals and other medical boards.

Public Citizen, a US non-profit consumer advocacy organisation, has catalogued Sartori's numerous strike-outs.

Its records show Sartori was disciplined by regulators in Maryland in September 1984, Virginia revoked his licence in 1985, Pennsylvania in 1985, and Texas in 1987.

He also was sanctioned by Utah authorities.

In 1986, the US Medicare system barred him for 10 years for making excessive claims or furnishing unnecessary or substandard care.

Sartori faced trial in Fairfax, Virginia, in 1999 for practising medicine without a licence and the court heard how he injected patients several times a day with ozone. Sartori did not give evidence, though his supporters did.

His lawyer at the time, Mr Koonst, told The Age there was a "religious fervour" about the supporters. "They were almost cult-like in their belief in his knowledge and wisdom."

The court, however, ordered Sartori to serve two jail terms, each of 2½ years.

In sentencing, the judge noted Sartori had already been convicted for practising without a licence, yet he "went ahead and continued to do it, continued to practice medicine … If the law doesn't protect the weak and the sick and the helpless, then the law fails."

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