Another Perspective on the Controversial Figure that is Dr. David Chao



Dr. David Chao has been the center of whirlwind of controversy and criticism. His record has been gone through with a fine-tooth comb and exposed for all to see. I’m okay with this. I don't know the man and I have no affiliation with him. My main problem with most people who form their opinion on Chao is that it is (most likely) developed in a bubble. A lot of Charger fans are wont to do this--form opinions in a bubble, without looking a different perspectives.

Nowhere that I saw did anyone compare Dr. Chao to other high profile doctors (his client list includes the WWE and X Games, among many others). They just saw what appears to be inadequate care provided by Dr. Chao, and assumed he was a bad doctor. Is he? Here is what K. Patrick McDonald, author of "America's Dumbest Doctors," said in regards to Dr. Chao:

For all his lawsuits, it is of value to note that David Chao, MD doesn’t even rank in the top-100 of medical miscreants in this category, over the most recent 5 years. We have in our files cases of physicians who have racked up 3 times that number, including 2 MDs who – and fasten your seat belt – accumulated over 100 law suits in a single a year. I’ll gleefully provide the basic math: That’s 8 per month.

Is Dr. Chao's record spotless? Not even close. Is he horrendous and as bad as some make him out to be? I doubt it. Otherwise you wouldn't get reviews like this from two of his patients:

I had reconstructive ACL surgery from Dr. Chao in May of 2011. 3 months later and I have nothing but glowing remarks for Chao and his entire staff at OASIS. My surgery was seamless.

I am an average Joe who happened to be referred to Dr. Chao and based on stories I’ve heard from many people I have talked to who have had ACL surgery elsewhere I am very glad I went with Dr. Chao.

Before my surgery I was highly cynical of the medical world and doctors in general due to malpractice and bad ethical stories I’ve heard over the years but Chao and his staff receive an A+ from me.

I am very sorry to read others have had such problems but everyone must know the risk they are taking anytime they are going into surgery which I too was made aware of by the OASIS staff and almost did not have surgery because of. It is a sad reality that doctors are people too and all of them do make mistakes from time to time. If a Doctor is making critical mistakes often then they should not be allowed to perform surgeries any longer.


I am a long time patient of Dr. Dave Chao, dating back eleven years. I have known him professionally, as a publicist for the ESPN X Games, as the doctor for Tony Hawk tours, and personally, as a patient. This spring I am ashamed to say I almost didn’t go to him for my 3rd ACL replacement (I am a skier), due to the media drama surrounding his reputation. I debated; my conclusion was, and is, that Dr. Chao is a very, very good surgeon and respectable person. Chao has operated on me successfully four times. He cares about his patients, his career, and family; this cannot be easy. I am recovering nicely, by the way.

I feel for Dr. Chao. I’ve known him to be a good doctor, person, father, and friend. We are all human. We all have skeletons, most of which have their own story and explanation. Chao has remained stoically quiet, busy in his private practice, and undoubtedly wrestling with the harsh feedback from those who have half of a story.

When you perform as many surgeries as he does, you’re bound to have litigation. In my humble opinion and speculation, Chao may have made a bad decision after drinking with an extremely troubled best friend and former player (speculating, here). I’m sure he’d make a different decision, if he had the do-over. Most of us can relate.

Dr. Chao has been traveling with the Chargers, X Games, and USA Rugby, to name a few; all big dudes with big injuries, who play through, with supervised medical care and pain management. My experience is that Chao respects an athlete to make their own career and life decisions after detailing all choices available and potential ramifications of their choice. If they choose to continue playing, skating, riding, skiing, he will respect their choice, their body, and do his best to minimize further injury and prepare that athlete to return to play.

I don’t follow the NFL much, having had a career in action sports, but in my humble opinion, I’d say that the Players Association has been looking for a scapegoat to take power away from the teams and player’s right to decide their own medical care. Perhaps they are succeeding.

Chao is a good, level headed doctor to have on your team when someone goes down. I wish him and his family the very best.

Also, as the U-T noted, there are a quite a few Charger players that support him:

In August, Ryan Mathews broke his right clavicle and had Chao perform the surgery. The running back recovered and returned to the field a month later, missing two regular-season games. In December, when Mathews broke his left clavicle, he chose Chao for his surgery again.

Chao scoped quarterback Philip Rivers’ knee in 2008 less than a week before the AFC Conference Championship Game. He repaired Rivers’ torn ACL that offseason.

Center Nick Hardwick underwent ankle surgery with Chao in 2009 and was able to return later that season.

"I’ve had four of five surgeries with Dr. Chao. He’s consulted on three or four others that I’ve had," Hardwick said. "I completely trust him. He’s done a great job for me. He’s done a great job for my career, getting me on the field, keeping me on the field where I want to be. He’s been a very important part of the success I’ve had."

Former long snapper David Binn played with the Chargers from 1994 to 2010 and told U-T San Diego on Thursday that it was "always a good experience" working with Chao, who surgically repaired his shoulder one offseason.

Also, Philip Rivers said this about Chao:

I can only speak of my personal experiences: a successful ACL reconstruction and a meniscus repair, along with other ailments which he provided great care. I have no complaints of the care Dr. Chao has provided me.

Yes, Dr. Chao's record has a black spot or two, but do you know for certain that your personal physician doesn't as well? How many of you know how many times your doctor has been sued for malpractice? Or found liable for malpractice? Or even settled this sort of case out of court?

If you have a negative opinion of Dr. Chao, that's fine. I would encourage you, when forming opinions, try to get as many of the facts possible before you form said opinion. Isn't that what this site is for? Getting facts to destroy other's opinions?

This FanPost was written by a member of the Bolts From The Blue community and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Bolts From The Blue editors or SB Nation.

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