A doctor who charged vulnerable multiple sclerosis patients, including a man from Bromsgrove, thousands of pounds for "pointless" and "unjustifiable" stem cell treatments has been struck off by the General Medical Council.
Robert Trossel, 56, was told his actions had done "lasting harm" after a long-running GMC disciplinary hearing into his involvement with nine MS patients who sought his help in "desperation" to find a cure for the disease.
Brian Gomes da Costa, chairman of the GMC fitness to practise panel, told Dr Trossel: "You have exploited vulnerable patients and their families. You have given false hope and made unsubstantiated and exaggerated claims to patients suffering from degenerative and devastating illnesses.
"Your conduct has unquestionably done lasting harm, if not physically, then mentally and financially, to these patients and also to their families and supporters."
One of Dr Trossel's patients chartered accountant Malcolm Pear, from Bromsgrove, visited the doctor at his Rotterdam clinic in January 2006.
His wife Lesley, who gave up her job as a sales director to care for him, remembers arriving in a taxi at a "dreadful" warehouse-type building on the outskirts of the Dutch city.
The couple paid £8,000 "up front" for the treatment and considered themselves lucky as she said this was presented as a discounted price.
"We were ushered into a coffee lounge - there were about nine people all sitting drinking coffee and eating Danish pastries - and that was where the treatment took place. I would have expected sterile conditions or at least privacy. I suppose alarm bells should have started ringing then," she said.
Trossel injected her husband in the neck and the abdomen with most of a vial of colourless liquid, after a brief consultation, Mrs Pear said.
He offered her the remainder of the liquid, she said, insultingly, as it was "good for anti-ageing".
The couple had been led to believe by Dr Trossel that the substance he had injected consisted of purified umbilical cord cells, she said, but it also later emerged that the injection contained bovine brain and spinal cord cells.
Mrs Pear said they then went to Eindhoven on the advice of Trossel, where they underwent "completely bizarre" Aqua Tilis treatment.
"I went in with Malcolm as well, as the floors were tiled and slippery and you can imagine, with MS, trying to get about," she said. "We went into what I can only describe as a polytunnel with a galvanised tank with vegetation over it, and two slatted benches.
"We were sprayed with cold water and a man's voice came over telling us to turn over. It was completely bizarre."
Mrs Pear said her husband, now 56, had shown initial signs of improvement by leaving his wheelchair and walking that night and the next day.
But she said within two to three months, his condition deteriorated and the situation is now "very grim". She said she would "love" to sue "greedy" Trossel.
Dr Trossel, who admitted he was "too enthusiastic" about the use of stem cell therapy, was found by the panel to have exploited vulnerable patients by offering them "unjustifiable" and "inappropriate" treatments.
Dr Trossel exaggerated the benefits of stem cell treatment, did not describe accurately how the stem cells would work and overstated his success in treating patients with MS, the panel said.
A statement issued outside the GMC by Dr Trossel's solicitor on his behalf said: "Clearly I am disappointed that the GMC has decided to remove me from the UK register.
"I would like to take the opportunity to say how sorry I am for any distress caused to my patients during this time. During my career as a doctor, I have always practised with the objective of achieving the very best for my patients.
"Inevitably, the past months have been very stressful for me, my colleagues, patients and family, and I am very grateful for their ongoing support."