Society

Passenger Hauled Off United Flight Is Still In Hospital

| by Michael Howard

David Dao, the man who was violently removed from an overbooked United Airlines flight on April 9, is still recovering from the incident in the hospital.

The 69-year-old doctor told WLKY that he is staying in a Chicago hospital and added that he is not doing well. Asked by the news station what his injuries are, he said "everything."

"The family of Dr. Dao wants the world to know that they are very appreciative of the outpouring of prayers, concern and support they have received," said Stephen Golan, Dao's family attorney. "Currently, they are focused only on Dr. Dao’s medical care and treatment."

Dao was forcibly removed from his seat and dragged off the plane after refusing to get up. United Airlines had overbooked the flight and was asking four people to volunteer to give up their seats for four crew members. When nobody volunteered, the airline selected passengers at random. Dao was one of those passengers.

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"He just was not willing to get off the plane," witness Tyler Bridges said. "He started yelling at her, 'I'm a doctor. I have patients I have to see in the morning. I have to get back tonight. I can't be delayed.'"

In another video taken about 10 minutes after the one showing Dao being hauled off the airliner, the bloodied doctor is seen running back onto the plane.

"[He] just repeats, saying, 'I've got to get home, I've got to get home, I've got to get home,'" Bridges recalled. "In this daze, you can tell he's dazed from being unconscious, confused."

United has faced enormous backlash over the incident.

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In a second public apology posted to the company's website, CEO Oscar Munoz described what happened as "horrific." Below is his full statement:

The truly horrific event that occurred on this flight has elicited many responses from all of us: outrage, anger, disappointment. I share all of those sentiments, and one above all: my deepest apologies for what happened. Like you, I continue to be disturbed by what happened on this flight and I deeply apologize to the customer forcibly removed and to all the customers aboard. No one should ever be mistreated this way.

I want you to know that we take full responsibility and we will work to make it right.

It's never too late to do the right thing. I have committed to our customers and our employees that we are going to fix what's broken so this never happens again. This will include a thorough review of crew movement, our policies for incentivizing volunteers in these situations, how we handle oversold situations and an examination of how we partner with airport authorities and local law enforcement. We'll communicate the results of our review by April 30th.

I promise you we will do better.

The Chicago Tribune reports that Dao has retained Thomas Demetrio, a well-known personal injury lawyer out of Chicago. He specializes in medical negligence, product liability, airplane crash and litigation. He has negotiated over $1 billion in settlements.

Sources: WLKY, United Airlines, Chicago Tribune / Photo Credit: Luis Argerich via Wikimedia Commons

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