Bloodied United Passenger Identified As Doctor With Criminal Past

Should it even matter? 

By Gina Tron

The passenger who was bloodied and dragged off a United flight this weekend after refusing to give up his seat, has been identified.

According to an NBC affiliate in Washington, he has been identified as Dr. David Dao, of Elizabethtown, Kentucky.

After overbooking a flight from Chicago to Louisville, United asked several passengers who had already boarded to leave to make room for four United employees. The airline company offered vouchers and hotel stays for customers who volunteered to give up a seat, but no one gave it up. Volunteers were selected at random. Dao was one such passenger.

According to Time, Dao told staff he was a doctor who had to return to his patients Monday morning. United called airport officials, who forcibly removed him from the plane.

Video taken by a flight passenger showed Dao screaming while being dragged from the plane, resulting injuries. It sparked international outrage and caused United’s stock to plummet according to Market Watch.

Dao’s hometown paper, the Courier-Journal, revealed that the doctor is a father of five and a grandfather. The paper also revealed that he has a criminal past. He had his medical license suspended in 2004 for nearly a decade for illegally prescribing painkillers. In one case, according to that report, he illegally prescribed painkillers to a patient in exchange for sex. TMZ reported that while his medical license was suspended, Dao made money as a World Series of Poker player, earning a total of $234,664.

Many have criticized the investigation into Dao’s past.

In Forbes, a contributor wrote, “Before the next news cycle begins to trash the Louisville doctor, David Dao for his past brushes with the law, I hope reports of his criminal conviction in 2004 will be put into perspective and that the debate will expand to include whether United's was even justified in removing Sunday, four passengers on a flight from Chicago to Louisville.”

An attorney for the Dao family released a statement on Tuesday, according to CNBC, stating that Dao was being treated for injuries in a Chicago hospital.

"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," the statement reads.


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