Unlicensed doctor facing multiple felonies still seeking new clients
Catharina Hunter, 44, faces three counts in Kendall County
SAN ANTONIO – An area woman indicted in Kendall County this year on several charges of practicing medicine while not holding a license continues to seek clients in two other counties, an undercover investigation from the KSAT 12 Defenders found.
Catharina Hunter, 44, was indicted in February on three felony counts, following a years-long investigation in Kendall County into allegations that she prescribed medication for patients at an alternative treatment center while using the National Provider Identifier (NPI) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) numbers of a pediatric surgeon in Chicago with a similar name.
Records show Hunter is not licensed to practice medicine in the state of Texas.
Hunter, whose aliases include Katinca Hunter, Katinca Lindeque and Katherine Hunter, declined to comment on her pending court case outside of one of her medical clinics off De Zavala Road earlier this month.
She instead referred our questions to her criminal defense attorney, who told us via telephone he would rather see it play out in the court system than comment publicly.
Hunter remains free on bond awaiting trial after being arrested in late April in Bexar County on the Kendall County warrant.
Texas Medical Board records show that in August 2017, Hunter and the board entered into an agreed cease and desist order prohibiting her from practicing medicine without a license issued by the Texas Medical Board.
The board found that Hunter advertised one of her former businesses as combining medical expertise with authentic spa care, according to the order.
Hunter's April arrest came nearly three years after Boerne police first arrested her on charges of misdemeanor forgery and felony practicing without a medical license.
$300 for consultation
Posing as a prospective patient, a KSAT 12 producer on June 3 spoke with Hunter on the phone about paying for a consultation for her services.
Hunter said for $300, she would do a consult and "decide what is needed for you."
She then said the producer could go through up to six different types of analysis, including blood work, urinalysis and saliva testing, before Hunter would decide what he needed treatment-wise.
After at first saying the consultation would need to take place at her clinic in the 6300 block of De Zavala Road in northwest San Antonio, Hunter then agreed to meet the producer at her second clinic, located outside New Braunfels on State Highway 46.
Hunter did point out during the phone call that she is not a Texas Medical Board physician and, therefore, could not give the producer a formal diagnosis.
The clinic appeared to be inside a manufactured home on a large plot of industrial property, undercover footage shot by the Defenders showed.
A small sign in front of the manufactured home, read, "Hope of Life Healing Priory."
The producer canceled the appointment before it was scheduled to take place.
A second person listed on the clinic's website is a licensed physician in Texas, according to state records. He did not respond to several messages sent through social media and to several requests for comment left at other San Antonio-area medical practices associated with him.
The Defenders have been unable to determine what treatments Hunter is currently offering and whether she needs a state medical license to provide them.
Hunter's indictment in Kendall County surrounds the medication allopurinol and whether she illegally prescribed it to patients while operating the Hope of Life Alternative Treatment Center in Boerne in 2016.
The substance, which can lower uric acid levels in patients, is often used to treat the side effects of chemotherapy. However, it can also cause cardiac arrest in some people.
Hunter's indictment claims that from February to April 2016, she repeatedly prescribed the medication to Robert Frick.
Frick died in early April at the age of 78, his wife, Pamela Frick, confirmed via telephone late last month.
Pamela Frick confirmed that her late husband was a patient of Hunter.
Pamela Frick declined to take part in an on-camera interview for this story, but she detailed treatments Hunter gave her husband to battle cancer in his bloodstream. She called Hunter an honorable person who was just trying to help people.
A spokeswoman for the Kendall County District Attorney's Office said that prosecutors have found a number of other people besides Robert Frick who had medications prescribed to them by Hunter.
One of those patients is Ann Hollister, a San Antonio woman who began being treated by Hunter in Boerne in late 2015, before eventually returning for care under a traditional oncologist.
Hollister, who died in November 2016, paid as much as $1,700 for a single treatment from Hunter, according to invoices provided by her longtime partner, Barry Genaske.
"It was having no positive effect whatsoever," said Genaske, who added that Hollister first sought treatment from Hunter after being told about her homeopathic approach.
"We started to get the idea that there was something wrong here. The treatments were extremely expensive," said Genaske.
Invoices provided by Genaske show that Hunter charged Hollister $1,700 in February 2016 to perform autohemo perfusion-minor, a procedure that involves removing a patient's blood from one arm and pumping it back into another arm after it has been sterilized and filtered.
Among the other records provided by Genaske was a February 2016 prescription for allopurinol written and signed by Hunter, using the federal identification and license numbers of the Chicago surgeon.
Hunter denied writing prescriptions specifically for allopurinol when asked by the Defenders earlier this month.
Licensed vs. Certified
Hunter's current website claims that she is board certified as a Doctor of Integrative Medicine, Doctor of Humanitarian Services, Doctor of Natural Medicine, Alternative Medical Practitioner and as a Holistic Health Practitioner.
The Board of Integrative Medicine, listed as the board overseeing two of Hunter's certifications, makes a clear distinction between holding a license versus holding a certification.
A license is permission to do something that is otherwise forbidden, while a certification is a declaration that one has completed a course of study, passed an examination or otherwise met specified criteria for certification, according to the board's website, which reprinted the definitions with permission from Dr. Lawrence Wilson's manual titled, "Legal Guidelines for Unlicensed Practitioners."
Copyright 2019 by KSAT - All rights reserved.