Broward Health CEO Dr. Nabil El Sanadi was found dead in a restroom at the Lauderdale-by-the-Sea condominium complex in Broward County, Florida, on Saturday afternoon. A representative with the Broward Sheriff’s Office confirmed El Sanadi died of a gunshot wound — which was apparently self-inflicted.
At the time of his death, El Sanadi was recovering from a triple bypass surgery. Although it is unclear what prompted the 60-year-old doctor to take his own life, Broward Health Board Chairman David DiPietro confirmed his colleague and friend had ongoing “health issues.”
Business Journal reports Nabil was a native of Cairo, Egypt, who moved to Cleveland, Ohio, with his family in 1969.
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While earning a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Case Western Reserve University, El Sanadi held several odd jobs, including factory work, welding, and bagging groceries. Although he aspired to become a chemist, Nabil said he applied to medical school on a dare.
“I graduated as a chemist. Someone said: ‘I bet you can’t get into medical school.’ So I applied and I got into medical school. You can’t go back to your parents and say ‘I got accepted to be a doctor, but I really want to be a chemist.'”
Following his graduation from the Ohio State University Medical School, Dr. Nabil El Sanadi went back to Case Western Reserve University to earn an MBA, as he was also interested in the administrative side of medical care.
In an April 2015 interview with Miami Herald, the Broward Health CEO said doctors are tasked with caring for “one patient at a time.” However, as a healthcare administrator, he had an opportunity to “set policy and affect a much larger population simultaneously.”
In 2014, Nabil was appointed as president and CEO of Broward Health. Unfortunately, at the time, the healthcare system was embroiled in a federal investigation.
Broward Health was suspected of participating in a scheme to submit fraudulent claims to Medicaid and Medicare. As reported by Sun Sentinel, the healthcare system was also suspected of implementing a “secret compensation system” — which rewarded doctors for referring their patients to specific imaging facilities and laboratories.
Although the crisis started before he took the helm, El Sanadi joined Broward Health in the height of the controversy. In late 2015, the investigated ended with an agreed settlement for $69 million.
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In addition to serving as the president and CEO of Broward Health, Dr. Nabil El Sanadi also served as medical director of the Broward Sheriff’s Office Department of Fire Rescue.
Speaking on behalf of the Broward Sheriff’s Office, Veda Coleman-Wright said Nabil will be sorely missed.
“Like so many others, I was shocked to hear about his death. I will forever remember his infectious smile and his genuine concern for others. Our deepest sympathy and prayers go out to his family at this most difficult time.”
Although he was an administrator, Dr. Nabil El Sanadi maintained a hands-on approach, often working in the emergency room and going on calls with the Department of Fire Rescue.
He was also known for his no-nonsense attitude when it came to business. Although is adversaries described him as “overbearing,” El Sanadi was respected for his aggressive leadership skills and his dedication to Broward Health and the Broward Sheriff’s Office Department of Fire and Rescue.
Broward Regional Health Planning Council board member said Nabil’s death will make a devastating impact on the Broward Health system as a whole.
“While I’m sensitive and sorry for people’s loss, the damage he has done to Broward Health is almost incalculable.”
Broward Health CEO Dr. Nabil El Sanadi will be remembered as a dedicated physician and a steadfast administrator. Although the Broward Sheriff’s Office confirmed he took his own life, his family and friends are still struggling to understand why.
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