Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Get This Story Out of the News, United

When we first saw the video of the passenger being dragged off of United Flight 3411 at O'Hare, we, probably like you, had three reactions:
1) he was brutally treated by the airline;
2) the passenger could have behaved better;
3) there were other ways the airline could have opened up a seat without reaching this point.
Modern journalism insists that we know more. The video will not stand on its own; we need to fill out the backstory. Was the passenger basically a victim or a partial instigator? (The answer does not change our judgment of the airline's actions, however.)

First reaction: he doesn't sound like a good guy. LA Times:
[David] Dao had previously been convicted of six felonies related to his medical practice in 2004, in which he was accused of illegally prescribing painkillers to a patient in exchange for sex.

He was given five years of supervised probation.

Dao surrendered his medical license in 2005
Second reaction: he was trying to turn his life around.
[Dao] applied for reinstatement, telling regulators it was a matter of “family honor.” In a 2014 letter, his attorney described Dao as "a grandfather, an active participant in his local church" who supports an organization that helps the homeless in his community, Elizabethtown, Ky.
Third reaction: he had mental challenges that the United police likely exacerbated.
Dao has a history of mental health problems, including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, for which he has received treatment. A 2011 psychological evaluation of Dao concluded that he "lacked the foundation to navigate difficult situations, both inter-personally and in a complex profession.” [snip]

But another psychological evaluation administered in 2013 concluded that Dao “emotionally was free of debilitating anxiety, depression, or psychological turmoil to the extent that it would affect his ability to function in activities of daily living or manage the practice of medicine.”

Regulators cleared Dao to return to medical practice in 2015, in which he was initially restricted to working one day a week, supervised by another doctor.
From sin to repentance to making amends to a violent encounter with authority--a progression that resonates during Holy Week. Settle at any cost, United, and get this story out of the news.

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