Wow! Details about the doctor thrown off the United Airlines flight on Sunday are emerging. He’s quite a character, but I’ll explain why we should not become sidetracked by his past.
I do approach this topic cautiously. Surprisingly perhaps, what first comes to my mind is the law surrounding the presentation of evidence in rape cases. In most jurisdictions, the rape victim’s past sexual conduct is inadmissible as evidence (usually attempting to show a character trait of promiscuity). This is to protect the victim against specific acts of rape that are not necessarily implicated by past behavior.
Before we go into details about this man, let us understand that he may be a pretty shady character, but that does not mean he was not violated or wronged in this situation.
Anyway, here’s the story. The passenger’s name is David Dao. He is 69 years old.
Dao, who went to medical school in Vietnam in the 1970s before moving to the U.S., has worked as a pulmonologist in Elizabethtown but was arrested in 2003 and eventually convicted of drug-related offenses after an undercover investigation, according to documents filed with the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure last June.
As for Dao’s history as a doctor in Kentucky, the medical licensure board documents allege that he was involved in fraudulent prescriptions for controlled substances and was sexually involved with a patient who used to work for his practice and assisted police in building a case against him.
Dao was convicted of multiple felony counts of obtaining drugs by fraud or deceit in November 2004 and was placed on five years of supervised probation in January 2005, according to the documents. He surrendered his medical license the next month.
The Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure permitted Dao to resume practicing medicine in 2015 under certain conditions.
My Lawyer Hat is On
His salacious past proves nothing, both in law and in fact.
Shagging a patient as a married man and dealing drugs may not be ethical, but that does not shed light on what happened onboard the plane on Sunday.
So here’s the point of my post — just because he was bad yesterday does not make him bad today. Sure, many will now just throw him under the bus, wholly discounting what happened to him. But if his story is ultimately discounted, it will not and should not be because of his checkered past.