The United Airlines passenger dragged off a plane and drenched in blood after being knocked out by security reveals to that he could have permanent brain damage.

In his first ever interview, Dr David Dao tells his horrific story to, and reveals the impact of the ordeal which caused worldwide outrage.

Dao, 69, tells how he still cannot sleep properly, has little co-ordination and is unable to concentrate. reports Daily Mail.

The grandfather's biggest fear is that he will never recover from his horrific injuries.
Dao was waiting to fly from Chicago to Louisville, Kentucky, on April 9 when the airline needed four extra seats for traveling crew.


When Dao and wife Teresa were selected to be bumped from the flight, he refused to leave and was violently dragged off the flight by three security enforcement officers, who lost control and dropped his head onto an arm rest.

Footage from other passengers' cellphones show Dao, bloodied and disheveled, returning to the cabin and repeating: "Just kill me. Kill me. I have to go home."

Now he tells how he has no recollection of the events, which resulted in horrific injuries including two lost front teeth, a badly broken nose and severe concussion.

But Dao says the real scars are mental rather than physical and has doubts that he can ever work again as a doctor.

Currently, he is mostly housebound, as he is still disfigured from his injuries and needs surgery on his nose to reshape it.

'I'm in the process of recovery. I cannot concentrate well, or sleep well, I need more time to recover, more rest from concussion. I need surgery to correct my nose, but first of all I worry about my brain.

"It affects my sleeping, coordination, concentration, doing anything. It could be permanent," says Dao, speaking from his home in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.

"My neurologist just says to go from Monday to Monday, they can't say if it's permanent.


"I can't think of it, can't think how scary that is. I can't think about going back to work right now.

"I could be like this in a year's time, I don't know. I'm not looking pretty good right now.

"I'm just very sad, I'm very emotional, I don't know how I feel, just sad."

He added: "I am a marathon runner, I've done 31 marathons - Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Las Vegas - but I cannot run, I just walk slowly. I can only cook and use a computer very slowly."

When the incident happened in April, the airline at first complained that Dao was violent to staff.

The company's CEO Oscar Munoz even sent an internal email claiming that Dao was "belligerent and disruptive" while apologizing in public.

The negative PR from the incident led to $800 million being wiped off United shares at the time. its slogan, Fly the Friendly Skies, was widely mocked, and Munoz embarked on an apology tour, going in front of Congress to be lacerated by members of the House transportation committee.

When asked if Munoz ever tried to get in touch with Dao, to personally apologize, the doctor sad: "No, no, no. I didn't speak to anyone, not the CEO, not anyone from the company, only through my lawyer."

Dao is unsurprisingly reticent to talk about the incident after he reportedly came to a settlement with the airline to avoid a protracted lawsuit.

He says that Munoz is allowed his "own opinion" and won't be drawn on United's behavior, only concentrating on the positives from the horrific episode.

In a statement afterwards, United said: "We continue to express our sincerest apology to Dr. Dao.

"We cannot stress enough that we remain steadfast in our commitment to make this right. This horrible situation has provided a harsh learning experience from which we will take immediate, concrete action.

"We have committed to our customers and our employees that we are going to fix what's broken so this never happens again."

The father-of-five's hope is that the aviation industry can improve their services to passengers, especially United.

The carrier has now changed their policy and say that crew members cannot displace passengers already on the plane.

American Airlines immediately followed suit, while Delta offered up to $10,000 to any passenger forced to give up their seat.

"I hope that my case will change aviation policy so they respect the passenger, hopefully they will be treated fairly now, that's my great wish,' says father-of-five Dao.

"In the future, I hope they keep changing policy to help the passenger, we have a right, they can't be violated, no matter if they're black, white, red, or yellow. It doesn't matter who you are. I hope United keep their promising to change.

"I would fly with United again, because aviation policy has changed after the accident, I want to see how it's changed. I would be happy to fly tomorrow if I was well enough. They haven't offered me free flights though.

"I'll not come back like I was before, that's for certain, but that's not important. It's important to speak for people who've got not no rights, they've got no voice, not able to speak out."

Dao moved to the US in April 1975 from Vietnam. When he moved he was well-known as a folk singer-songwriter in his home country.

When news of the United incident went global, Tuoi Tre News, a newspaper in Ho Chi Minh City - the city formerly known as Saigon - revealed he was famous in his motherland and went by the name Dao Duy Anh.

He had studied at Saigon National Music School as well as becoming a doctor.

He was particularly known as a songwriter who had two folk-themed hits, "Tat Nuoc Dau Dinh" and "Ta Ve Ta Tam Ao Ta," the latter of which won him top prize in a music competition.

He even put together his own band called Bach Viet, which consisted of medical, pharmacy, dentistry and engineering students.

Dr Dao's daughter, Crystal Dao Pepper, spoke in the wake of the incident at a press conference in Chicago with the attorneys representing her father. Photo / Getty Images
Dr Dao's daughter, Crystal Dao Pepper, spoke in the wake of the incident at a press conference in Chicago with the attorneys representing her father. Photo / Getty Images

Since then, Dao has performed across America for the Vietnamese community and would like to do more music work for charity when he hopefully recovers.

"I have two careers - music and medicine. If I get well, then I want to do work for charity, maybe music.

"When I was in Vietnam, I graduated from a professional music school and when I came to the United States, I taught traditional Vietnamese music.

"I taught for a year, then went back to medical school. I still perform for the communities, mostly pop and traditional," says Dao.

"I play an instrument, a 16-string sitar, and then a special one, a harmonica. I play in organized shows for the Vietnamese community, in Kentucky it's small, but in California, Houston, Washington DC it's big. In the past I've traveled everywhere.

"I'm also trying to write a book, how I escaped from Vietnam, how I got to the United States, then how I got into music, then some other things happened, such as United Airlines, which all changed my life.

"I am trying to record it on tape, but it's so difficult, I turn it off and cry after everything I've been through, I just have to do the best I can.

"The rest of my life I want to dedicate to help other people."

It's also been revealed that Dao was a regular on the pro-poker tournament for ten years and amassed prize money of over $250,000, something that he wishes to do in the future.

"I liked playing poker and marathon running, as you have to control how you feel, as you will be up and down all the time, how you feel after 20 miles is not the same as 10 miles," he said.

"You cope with it, poker is the same thing when in tournaments. How you deal with success, failure, survive the difficult times.

"Up and down, like life. I can't play now, but I'll see what happens. It's all about psychology and luck, I found it fascinating."

In the aftermath of the bloody airline episode, Dao at first received a huge wave of public sympathy and there was a petition to remove United CEO Munoz on, which has just over 100,000 signatures.

But, days later, it was revealed that Dao had been struck off as a doctor after being convicted in 2004 for soliciting prescription drugs in return for gay sex with a patient.

Dao denies the charges even though he was caught on a police camera with lover Brian Case in a hotel room in just his pants and shirtless. It was his wife Teresa, 69, a pediatrician, who alerted the authorities.

In November 2004 a jury convicted him on felony counts of obtaining drugs by fraud and deceit.

In January, 2005, Dao was sentenced in Jefferson Circuit Court to two years and eight months on each felony conviction. He was allowed a five-year supervised probation.

Three years later, he was evaluated by psychologists and his bid to renew his medical work was rejected because of the sex and lies he had been found guilty of as well as his outdated practices.

In 2015, his medical license was partially re-instated with restrictions placed on his access to patients.

The Hardin Memorial Hospital, where he worked, placed him on "a corrective action plan by due to disruptive conduct".

During this evaluation Dr. Dao stated that regaining his medical license was a matter of "family honor."

Four of his five children are doctors.

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.

Their other daughter, Crystal - Christine's twin - is a married mother in Barrington, Illinois.

But, for the first time, Dao tells his versions of events and says that he was suffering from depression and post-traumatic depression at the time because of all that had happened to him when escaping Vietnam.

He says that he was set up by Case, who he described as a church minister, and trusted him enough to make him the office manager of both his and wife Teresa's practices.

"It happened nearly 15 years ago, it was my mistake, it's a long story, and I've been trapped, I didn't do anything illegal, it was a set up.

"I'm really upset, I just trusted the wrong person. He was working for my office, and he got caught with prescription drugs, and blamed everything on me.

"He said I authorized him to take the drugs, then they [law enforcement] wanted to do a deal, I said no I want to go to court, I've done nothing wrong, but I lost," explains Dao.

"He was a minister at the church, I thought he was a good person, I trusted him to become the manager of the office, I didn't know he'd use my name to get those drugs himself, but he then blames it on me.

"Nothing happened, I was the boss, he was the employee. He was the manager for me and my wife. She only told police because she found out he'd stolen some money.

"It's not true that I got caught in my pants. He set up a meeting in a hotel, I said: 'Why in a hotel?'

"But he wanted to meet me there, he'd set it up with the police, they had a camera there. I didn't do any drugs, it's there on camera.

"No one is reporting this. It was an injustice - I lost my license, trust of my family, all my money on lawyers fees, that's horrible.

"Then after probation, I had to come back, and finally, they did psychology testing on me.

"I wasn't a sex or drug addict, I just have depression and PTSD because of what had happened. I had to go back to education, study medicine and be supervised, it was a pain in the neck."

It was after this time that Dao was reborn in his Christian faith and says that the three incidents - escaping Vietnam, being convicted of felonies and the United incident - were a calling from God and, in some ways, a positive thing.

He says: "I found my faith, I became a Christian in 2005. I lost my name, my money, my family, my faith kept me alive.

"The accident with United Airlines happened I think for a reason. God wanted me to have this suffering, so that I could appreciate it, and then I could do charity to help poor and sick people.

"I've now had three things happen in my life, I now just want to help others. Those moments can't be taken back. I use this faith to help people.

"The United Airlines episode put all my family together. The bad thing is the accident, the good thing is that my family have come together. I am pleased about that."

How will United fix its policies?

An internal report by United has highlighted a series of "failures" in the Dao incident, NBC reported.

Those failures were:

• Calling law enforcement even though there was no security threat
• Booking off-duty flight crew at the last minute on an already oversold plane
• Not offering enough compensation to entice passengers to give up their seats.

The company is now implementing a series of new procedures that it hopes will stop anything like this happening in the future:

• More staff training for difficult and unusual situations
• New team training to help staff develop creative solutions to issues
• Fewer overbooked flights
• Raising compensation paid out to customers to encourage them to give up their seats - the airline will now offer up to $10,000