David Dao's United Assault Allegedly Left Him Much More Horrifically Injured Than We Realized

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David Dao, the 69-year-old Kentucky doctor whose brutal assault by Chicago law enforcement on a United Airlines flight became an international incident, was even more seriously injured than anyone realized, his lawyer claimed on Thursday.


In a press conference held Thursday morning in Chicago, attorney Tom Demetrio said that his client was discharged from the hospital Wednesday night after suffering a “significant” concussion, a “serious” broken nose with injuries to his sinuses, and lost his two front teeth. Demetrio said that the injuries will require reconstructive surgery.

Dao allegedly doesn’t remember the violent incident–or rushing back onto the plane with blood streaming down his face, muttering “just kill me” and “I need to go home”–at all, but Demetrio said he called the ordeal more harrowing than when he fled Vietnam for the U.S. after the fall of Saigon.


Through his attorneys, Dao filed a petition asking the Cook County Circuit Court to preserve any evidence related to the case, the first step toward a likely lawsuit. But Demetrio emphasized the case is still in the discovery phase.

“Will there be a lawsuit? Yeah, probably,” the attorney said.

United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz has apologized, saying that watching the video made him feel “shame” and vowing that it would never happened again. After videos of the run-in went viral, the company’s valuation reportedly plunged, losing around $800 million.


Crystal Dao Pepper, Dao’s daughter, thanked members of the public for their support.

“What happened to my dad never should’ve happened to any human being,” she said.

She went on to say her and her siblings “were horrified, and shocked, and sickened to learn what had happened to him,” feelings only made worse by watching the whole incident play out on video.


Demetrio also obliquely referenced stories which mentioned Dao’s past legal issues by emphasizing that Dao was not a “troubled passenger” or “nut job,” just an innocent passenger manhandled by “storm troopers” with badges.

Managing Editor, Splinter

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