Doctor Paul Andrew Frohna, M.D., Ph.D., a 48-year-old internal medicine physician and Chief Medical Officer at ProFibrix, Inc., a Dutch biotech company, was alleged by others aboard British Airways Flight BA-273 from London Heathrow Airport (LHR) to San Diego International Airport (SAN) to be acting erratically. Police would later describe his actions as belligerent and combative.
Two of the passengers aboard the Boeing 777-200ER nonstop 11-hour flight helped to restrain Dr. Frohna, who was eventually handcuffed by flight attendants and tied to his seat, as reported exclusively by KGTV 10News San Diego on Tuesday, November 22, 2011.
The drama aloft occurred after Dr. Frohna was observed to be disoriented, allegedly standing on his seat, climbing over it to the next row, and failing to respond to instructions from the cabin crew, in actions that lasted about 30 to 45 minutes.
One of the passengers who intervened identified himself as “Malcolm”, and told a reporter for 10News that his daughter worked as a flight attendant, which caused him added concern and empathy for those on duty aboard the British Airways flight, as well as worries about the safety of the other passengers.
Dr. Frohna was described as combative while he was being restrained, spitting at and attempting to punch those who were subduing him.
After the aircraft landed without further incident in San Diego at 7:07 p.m. PDT on Tuesday evening, November 22, it was met by San Diego Harbor Police who questioned the errant passenger, but did not place him under arrest. The matter has been turned over to the FBI for further investigation.
An attached slide show also accompanies this report.
Dr. Frohna was described as apologetic, explaining that he had consumed two vodka drinks, and then taken a sleeping pill. After waking up, he discovered that he had been handcuffed, but had no memory of what had taken place during the flight. He declined to answer questions from a 10News reporter who came to his La Jolla, CA home later that evening.
The doctor has been involved with many companies doing stem cell research and clinical trials of new medications, with the potential to cure diseases and extend life.
He graduated from Georgetown University School of Medicine, and describes himself on his LinkedIn profile, by saying, in part, “I am an experienced physician-scientist trained in internal medicine with expertise in clinical pharmacology, translational medicine, and clinical trial design and execution who utilizes skills in and passion for developing novel therapeutic agents.”
The side effects of some sleeping pills, such as Zolpidem, which is commonly prescribed as Ambien, include hallucinations, delusions, altered thought patterns, poor motor coordination, difficulty maintaining balance, increased impulsivity, short term memory loss, impaired judgment and reasoning, and amnesia.
It is very possible that Dr. Frohna’s erratic behavior aboard the British Airways flight resulted from some of these side effects.
Tell us your thoughts. Please leave comments below or by email and subscribe to get future updates. There is also expanded coverage of other recent news articles. You may also wish to follow our dispatches as the News Analysis Examiner.