Society

Doctor Dragged Off United Flight Has Criminal History

| by Michael Howard

The man who was violently removed from an overbooked United Airlines flight on April 9 is a doctor with a checkered past.

David Dao, 69, attended medical school in Vietnam before setting up a practice in Kentucky.

In 2003, while working as a pulmonologist in Elizabethtown, an undercover investigation led to Dao's arrest and conviction for drug-related offenses. The information comes from documents filed with the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure.

According to the New York Post, the documents state that Dao became sexually interested in a male patient named Brian Case. Dao had reportedly given Case a physical examination and eventually hired him as his office manager.

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Case later quit after complaining that Dao made "inappropriate" comments. Afterwards Dao began fraudulently giving Case prescription drugs in exchange for sexual favors.

Documents indicate that Dao carried on a sexual relationship with Case while providing him with narcotics, according to the New York Post. The two men would reportedly frequently meet in hotel rooms and would work in concert to get prescriptions from various pharmacies.

TMZ reports that Dao denied paying for sex, but said he instead took sexual favors in exchange for reducing a debt that Case owed him.

The Courier-Journal reports that Case helped authorities build a case against Dao, and in November 2004 the doctor was convicted of several felony counts of obtaining drugs by fraud or deceit. Two months later he was placed on five years' supervised probation. He gave up his medical license soon after.

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In 2015, after Dao completed his probation and underwent a psychological evaluation, the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure allowed him to resume practicing medicine under certain conditions.

Dao was forcibly removed from United Express Flight 3411 after refusing to give up his seat on the overbooked flight. The incident was captured on video and led to widespread outrage, with people slamming the airline for the way it dealt with the situation.

Dao, his wife and two others were chosen at random to leave the aircraft to make room for four United Airlines crew members. One witness, Audra Bridges, told the Courier-Journal that Dao refused to leave because he said he was a doctor and had patients to see the following morning.

Bridges said she and her fellow passengers were "shocked and appalled" when security officers violently removed Dao from his seat and dragged him off the plane.

"This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United," CEO Oscar Munoz said in a statement, according to NBC News. "I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers. Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened."

Sources: The New York Post, Courier-Journal, TMZ, NBC News / Photo credit: Screenshot via Chicago Sun Times

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