Who Is The Doctor From The United Airlines Flight?

Thanks to cell phone videos uploaded to social media that recorded a United Airlines passenger being bloodied and dragged off of a plane for refusing to give up his seat on an overbooked flight, the incident has become a worldwide sensation. Outrage at everything from United's booking policies, to the excessive force used by security officers, to accusations of racial profiling have all hit the web. But one of the most pressing questions in the wake of the incident is: who was that passenger? Here's what you need to know about the doctor from that United Airlines flight.

His name is Dr. David Dao

According to The Daily Mail, the man who's probably flying Delta from now on is 69-year-old internal medicine physician Dr. David Dao. Originally from Saigon, Vietnam, Dao now lives in Elizabethtown, Kentucky with his wife, Teresa, who also practices medicine as a pediatrician. The Dao's have five children, four of whom are also in the medical field. "Their eldest son Tim, 34, practices medicine in Texas; their second son Ben, 31, is a medical graduate; their daughter Christine, 33, is a doctor in Durham, NC; and their youngster daughter Angela, 27, is a medical graduate of the University of Kentucky," The Daily Mail reports. But the family man's outward appearance doesn't match his shady past.

He has a pretty serious poker hobby

Dao's not only fabulous in the kitchen, but he's apparently no slouch at the poker table either. According to TMZ, Dao went straight from having his medical license revoked to Vegas for The World Series of Poker. Joining the circuit in 2006, Dao's player profile reports earnings of $234,664 with $117,744 of it coming from a single second place win in a tournament in 2009. Speaking about that tournament with TMZ, fellow rounder, Matt Stout spoke highly of Dao's abilities. "I was really impressed with how fearless he was in like, a big buy-in poker tournament," Stout said, adding, "He was really like the wild card at that tournament for sure, and everyone was kinda wondering what he was going to do, really unpredictable, super aggressive, unorthodox, made some wild plays and he actually made a really big play against me that actually worked out for him before he left, that's why I didn't win that tournament."

And Dao is apparently still an active cardshark. According to online poker database, The Hendon Mob, a player profile listed under the name David Dao with a location off Elizabethtown, Kentucky that was activated in 2006 shows him having won 11th place in a WSOP circuit event as recently as January 23, 2017.

He's a convicted felon

After being found guilty in court for multiple counts of obtaining drugs by fraud and deceit, Dao surrendered his license to practice medicine in the state of Kentucky in 2005. His conviction came after a scandal involving a male patient, Brian Case, who allegedly received prescriptions from Dao in exchange for sexual favors. Not only that, but Case also alleged that Dao was "splitting some of the prescriptions" with him, and also paid to have them filled, according to medical documents obtained by Heavy.

Dao then applied multiple times to have his medical license reinstated but had it deferred by a panel of his peers in 2007, 2009, 2012, and 2014. After submitting to a range of psychological examinations and competency evaluations, his license to practice medicine in Kentucky was finally restored in 2015 under the restriction that he be evaluated by another doctor. After violating the terms of this restriction, Dao's license was further restricted in 2016, resulting in severe limitations on how and where his is able to practice.

He was diagnosed with a mood disorder

During the application process for the reinstatement of his medical license, Dao underwent a psychological evaluation in 2011, upon which he received "an Axis I diagnosis of Mood Disorder NOS." His evaluator, Mary Gannon, MD, also said that Dao "lacked the foundation to navigate difficult situations, both interpersonally and in a complex profession," and that he was resistant to therapy for treating his condition. Gannon also stated that Dao had "difficulties with information processing," and "tends to have poor decision-making despite his overall level of ability." Gannon also noted that a previous evaluator, a Dr. Brady, stated that Dao had interpersonal issues and that "he would unilaterally choose to do his own thing." All that said, it sort of sheds a different light on the whole forcible removal from the plane situation. Perhaps there's more to the story about Dao's behavior before security roughed him up. Who knows? But clearly the guy is dealing with some serious issues.

He went to culinary school

In 2004, Dao was featured in the Sullivan University Herald, because he'd enrolled in the Culinary Arts program there while "taking a sabbatical from his busy medical practice." Of course, this lines up exactly between his 2003 arrest and 2005 conviction for felony drug trafficking, but that's probably just a coincidence. Dao told the school newspaper that he wanted to enroll in the program, "because he is passionate about food and preventing disease instead of always treating the symptoms." He also said he planned on taking what he learned in the culinary program back to his patients in order to educate them on "the undeniable link between healthy food and good health."

He released a statement

Dr. David Dao spoke out for the first time since the ugly incident in a statement issued to CNBC. The joint statement from his Dao's lawyers reads, "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. Currently, they are focused only on Dr. Dao's medical care and treatment."

Dao, who is being treated at a Chicago hospital, reportedly also told WLKY the he "was not doing well," and when asked what his injuries were, he replied, "everything."

Back in Dao's hometown of Elizabethtown, KY, former co-workers are also speaking out since they realized that they knew the man who mad headlines after being violently dragged from the now infamous United Airlines flight. Speaking with USA Today, Donna Nadeau, the office manager of a medical practice where Dao worked said, "He's a pleasant guy. He really, really had a passion to get back into the medical field."

United CEO Oscar Munoz has also issued additional statements in the wake of continued outrage over the incident. "It is 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. I continue to be disturbed by what happened," Munoz said. "I deeply apologize to the customer forcibly removed and to all the customers aboard. No one should ever be mistreated this way," Munoz said.

United Airlines is being hit where it counts

With social media shaming of the airline's booking policy in full tilt, United Airlines is still scrambling to extinguish the flames ignited by the so-called "re-accommodation" of four passengers, including Dao who was the only one violently removed.

Calls to boycott the embattled airline have gone international. A petition on whitehouse.gov has even reached the official threshold for a federal review of the incident. The Boycott United Airlines Facebook page, which as of this writing has over 13,000 likes, is calling for multiple actions including the resignation of United CEO Munoz, legal protections against overbooking policies, as well as continued social activism against the airline.

This has all resulted in a sharp decline in United Continental Holdings (United Airlines' parent company) stock. As of April 11, 2017, just three days after the incident, USA Today reports an estimated loss of $255 million in market value. However, on April 10, 2017, UAL stock actually rose as reports of the violent encounter started going viral. Only time will tell the long-term effects for the airline, but so far, it's not looking good.