Local physician’s medical license suspended
Dr. Sammy Fuad Becdach, 55, of Madison, had his medical license suspended on June 16 after a 21-year-old female patient he is accused of having sexual relations with died of a drug overdose on Dec. 18, 2020.
The Decatur Daily (www.decaturdaily.com)
The state Board of Medical Examiners will seek revocation of the medical license of a Decatur physician, accused of having sex with a patient, at a September hearing following the patient’s overdose death in 2020, the board’s attorney said Wednesday.
Dr. Sammy Fuad Becdach, 55, of Madison, who was practicing oncology and hematology with Clearview Cancer Institute on 14th Avenue Southeast in Decatur, had his medical license suspended on June 16 after a 21-year-old female patient he was having sexual relations with died of a drug overdose on Dec. 18, 2020, according to an administrative complaint by the Board of Medical Examiners.
According to the complaint, the suspension came after the “board’s finding and certification that the board presently has evidence in its possession that the continuance in practice of (Becdach) may constitute an immediate danger to his patients and the public.”
Board attorney Wilson Hunter on Wednesday said a Sept. 28 hearing has been set in the offices of the state Medical Licensure Commission in Montgomery on the allegations against Becdach.
“In the meantime, he cannot practice medicine. The board is the prosecuting agency. The board has asked and will seek revocation of his medical license and the assessment and costs associated with the investigation and prosecution,” Hunter said.
He said fines are up to $10,000 per violation.
A spokeswoman with Clearview Cancer Institute on Wednesday afternoon said Becdach is no longer with the Institute. His profile has been removed from the Clearview website. A Clearview social media post in December included a photo of him in his Decatur office and identified him as being one of their doctors.
A spokeswoman for Decatur Morgan Hospital said authorities contacted the hospital Friday with information on the license suspension of Becdach.
“Action per Decatur Morgan Hospital bylaws was immediately taken,” Noel Lovelace, vice president of development, wrote in an email Wednesday afternoon. “… We will not comment further at this time, as this is an ongoing investigation.”
In an 11-page complaint filed June 17, the Board of Medical Examiners states that on Dec. 31, 2020, the Pelham Police Department provided the Board of Medical Examiners information that “they had reason to believe (Becdach) had violated his professional boundaries.”
The board launched its own investigation in March 2021 and found evidence of several violations committed by Becdach, including videos on the victim’s cellphone of sexual activity between the victim and doctor.
The board met with the victim’s mother on March 16, 2021. She informed the board her daughter and Becdach met at a restaurant where her daughter worked as a hostess when she was 18 years old, according to the complaint. The mother said “(Becdach) was buying her all kinds of things, and she couldn’t hide it because he bought her a car,” the complaint said, adding that the victim “moved to Huntsville at the request of (Becdach) and he furnished her apartment and paid her bills.”
The mother told the board that Becdach “paid for everything” and gave her daughter a credit card to use to go shopping “with no limit.” The mother said her daughter and Becdach went on trips to San Diego, Miami and Salt Lake City, according to the complaint.
The victim’s mother said her daughter became “afraid to leave him” because he had claimed he was able to make people “disappear.”
The mother said her daughter told her that Becdach kept a black box or briefcase filled with narcotics and benzodiazepines in both pill and liquid form. “(The victim) reported two or three occasions to her mother where she awoke to (Becdach) pouring liquid OxyContin into her mouth and raping her,” the complaint said. “(The mother) believed (Becdach) fed her daughter’s addiction to maintain control over her.”
In an April 2021 interview with the board and Pelham police, according to the complaint, Becdach admitted in writing to engaging in sexual intercourse with the victim on more than one occasion, to writing at least seven prescriptions for her and to conducting an office visit with the victim at Clearview Cancer Institute on Nov. 7, 2018.
According to the complaint, Becdach said he had his first sexual encounter with the victim in the fall of 2017 and it continued through December 2020. He admitted to purchasing her gifts and paying some of her living expenses, the document said.
A friend of the victim told authorities that the victim told her that in October or November of 2020, she “woke up from a nap to (Becdach) ‘dripping down’ liquid Oxycodone or OxyContin” into the victim’s mouth, the complaint said. The friend said she doesn’t believe the victim was addicted to opioids before meeting Becdach.
According to the Pelham police report, the deceased victim was discovered in her bed with a tan powdery substance and a makeshift snort straw on Dec. 18. The autopsy report from the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences said the victim died of the toxic effects of fentanyl and morphine.
The board said it found probable cause that Becdach engaged in unprofessional conduct by having sexual relations with a patient, practiced medicine in a manner that endangered the health of a patient, supplied controlled substances to a person for reasons other than a legitimate medical purpose and failed to maintain medical records for a patient.
“We’re just an administrative agency,” Hunter said. “The most severe sanction we can administer is revocation of a medical license. I can’t speak on any of the other agencies whether it be criminal or civil. Our role is public protection.”
He said if Becdach’s state medical license is revoked, the action would be placed in a national database and Becdach’s employment in other states as a physician would be unlikely.
Records show that in June 2003 Becdach was issued a license to practice medicine in Alabama. He received his medical degree from Central University of Ecuador School of Medicine.
His wife of 30 years filed for divorce in Madison County Circuit Court on Aug. 21, 2019, alleging infidelity and that he had an income “in the seven-figure range.” In the February 2020 settlement agreement concluding the divorce, Becdach was listed as being co-owner of three limited liability companies, owning four houses, two boats, three off-road vehicles, two personal watercrafts and five cars, including a Jaguar and Maserati.