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Doctor Physically Thrown Off United Flight Has History of Mental Illness
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David Dao

Summary: In the two days since the videos of a man being dragged off a United Airlines flight hit social media, more information has been dug up about the man.

There are always two sides to every story. In a convenient twist for United Airlines, their side of the story may have been sweetened a little with the release of court documents detailing the doctor’s criminal and mental history.


See the video of the attack here: Will United Get Sued By Doctor Who Was Violently Deboarded?

Kentucky doctor David Dao, 69, was bumped off a United flight from Chicago to Louisville after the company needed to place crew members on the booked flight. In typical fashion when a company overbooks a flight, the airline offered up incentives of $200 plus a hotel for the night, then $400 plus a hotel and then up to $800 plus a hotel with no takers. No one on the booked flight was willing to give up the seat that they had paid for. United then moved to a random drawing to remove four people from the plane.

The first seats called were for a couple that quietly exited the plane. The next random winner was Dao, who declared that he was a doctor that had patients he needed to get back to. When he refused to get off the plane, the airline contacted the Chicago police to remove him. In the graphic videos posted by other passengers to social media, viewers can see Dao get slammed onto an armrest face first and then dragged by his arms off the plane with blood streaming down his face.

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Social media users have been up in arms over the treatment of Dao by the airline and aviation security officers, urging everyone to boycott the company, which has had a number of negative stories about them in the media over the past several years. United CEO Oscar Munoz originally blamed Dao, calling him “belligerent and disruptive.”

Now a story has surfaced by The Smoking Gun detailing Dao’s criminal history out of Kentucky. Dao had his medical license revoked and only reinstated two years ago. He was convicted of six felony counts of obtaining drugs by fraud and deceit, according to court documents. A jury concluded a sentence of just over two-and-a-half years per felony was fair. He was ultimately sentenced to five years of probation. Nearly a decade after his conviction for supplying a male patient with prescription painkillers in exchange for sexual favors, Dao was able to get his license back.

In 2004, Dao was convicted of prescribing Vicodin and other painkillers to a 28-year-old male patient-turned-employee. The man went to Dao, a pulmonary specialist, to be treated for collapsed lungs and chest pain. During the initial exam, the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure noted that Dao performed a “genital examination.” Investigators claim that Dao began a sexual relationship with the man, even making him the office manager of his clinic. Dao was writing personal checks and providing painkillers for the man in return for sex acts. Dao’s wife, also a doctor, found out about the checks so Dao turned to cash.

The man was won over by the police and helped them set up and discover Dao. Police arrested Dao at the Red Carpet Inn motel where he had just paid the man $174 to be used for pills. Dao was standing in the room without a shirt and his pants undone when police barged in. Just three months later he was convicted and he had surrendered his medical license, which had been suspended since his arrest.

In the Kentucky Board’s review of Dao’s history, they detailed “many complaints” from a Kentucky Hospital where he had been the subject. His “disruptive behavior” prompted a corrective plan to be made, including anger management counseling.

In 2007, Dao appealed to have his license reinstated but was denied. In 2009, an assessment found that he was “not safe to practice medicine.” Previous psychological reviews found “a pattern of deception that is inconsistent with the level of accountability necessary for a practicing physician.” Experts urged Dao to tackle his traumatic childhood and experience coming to the U.S. in 1995. By 2011, he had been diagnosed with a mood disorder and tended “to have poor decision-making despite his overall level of ability.”

In April 2015, Dao was allowed to practice medicine again, but under strict observation by another physician. He currently practices internal medicine in an “outpatient office-based environment.” He is not allowed to work in a hospital or other inpatient settings. He can only work one day a week at his supervising physician’s clinic.

While Dao does not have the best mental history, the abuse he received is still disturbing to many. Munoz has now apologized for the incident. Munoz posted on Twitter the following announcement:

“The truly horrific event that occurred on this flight has elicited many responses from all of us; outrage, anger, disappointment. I share all of these sentiments, and one above all, my deepest apologies for what happened….we will work to make it right.”

Perhaps Munoz fears a very public and heated lawsuit coming his way. The security officer seen dragging an unconscious Dao down the aisle has been suspended.

To see how others are handling the story, see this video: Honest Commercial for United Airlines

Do you think United was justified in kicking people off the plane randomly? Tell us how you think United should have handled the situation in the comments below.

To learn more about the other stories that have landed airline companies with bad press, read these articles:




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