The passenger who was savagely removed from United flight 3411 is a medical doctor with a sordid history.
When airport security yanked David Dao off an overbooked flight Sunday, bloodying him as they dragged him down the aisle, he was thrust into the international spotlight.
Dao, an Elizabethtown doctor, is familiar to many Kentuckians who recall his convictions on drug-related offenses in 2004.
Dr. David Dao was charged in 2005 with 98 felony drug counts for illegally prescribing and trafficking painkillers. Prosecutors claimed Dao fraudulently filled prescriptions for hydocodone, Oxycontin and Percocet.
In February, 2005, Dr. Dao surrendered his license to practice medicine in Kentucky. In 2015 the medical board lifted the suspension and allowed him to practice medicine with some restrictions. Last year, the medical board imposed even more restrictions — now he can only practice internal medicine in an outpatient facility one day a week.
Dr. Dao was also convicted on 6 felony counts of obtaining drugs by fraud and deceit and in 2005 was given 5 years probation.
Dao was also convicted for writing prescriptions and checks to a patient in exchange for sex.
In medical board documents … Dao denied paying for sex, but indicated he accepted sexual favors from an associate in exchange for reducing a debt that associate owed him.
David Dao Arrested
According to a criminal complaint on at least one occasion, Dao received $174 in exchange for the pills in an unlabeled bottle. From 2001-2003, Dao “unlawfully prescribed controlled substances” to patients, court documents said.
The criminal complaint in the case went onto say that Dao would solicit homosexual relations with a male patient in exchange for a prescription for hydrocodone. The meetings occurred at motels and it was found that Dao had written out personal checks to the patient on more than one occasion.
The patient was arrested at a Walgreens Pharmacy and brought in for an interview, where he confessed about his and Dao’s relationship. The man was brought into police custody because he was calling the pharmacy to order prescriptions and saying that he was in fact Dao, picking up prescriptions under numerous aliases.
Dao was eventually arrested by police at a hotel room in Jefferson County on July 25, 2003. The room was under surveillance by the Louisville Police Department and Dao was seen with the male patient without a shirt on and with his pants undone. The patient gave Dao money for a bottle of pills and police stormed the room to arrest him upon the exchange.
David Dao was officially charged with unlawful prescribing, trafficking in a controlled substance and complicity in obtaining drugs by fraud and deceit and pled not guilty to the charges.
Interestingly, and relevant to the United incident, one doctor assessing Dao’s case said he had interpersonal problems, noting “… he would unilaterally choose to do his own thing.”
Dao’s removal from Lousiville-bound United Express Flight 3411 at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago was captured on video. United has come under scathing criticism for how it handled the situation, ranging from its insistence that passengers give up seats to the level of violence used by officers who yanked Dao from the aircraft.
In the video taken by passengers, Dao refuses to give up his seat. He screams as three Chicago Aviation officers begin pulling him from his seat. Dao’s head strikes an armrest before he is dragged down the aisle by his arms, seemingly unconscious.
The Chicago Department of Aviation has placed the security officer who dragged Dao from his seat on leave, and said in a statement Monday that it does not condone his actions and that the incident on the United flight was not in accordance with its standard operating procedure.
United’s CEO has apologized for the incident, and the U.S. Transportation Department also is investigating whether United complied with federal regulations regarding overbooking.
As he is dragged, some passengers can be heard admonishing the security officers