A long, strange trip

Just "touchy feely": Hand Center doc accused of choking & sexually bothering flight attendant has an original excuse

Hand Center doc accused of choking flight attendant

Michael Brown . . . in happier times. Photo by Daniel Ortiz

Everybody's favorite hand doctor Michael Brown is at it again, folks.

On a recent British Airways flight from London to Miami, the good doctor had a bit of a meltdown after his meal spilled onto his lap and headphones. Enraged by the mishap, Brown responded by choking a nearby flight attendant — a maneuver allegedly not unknown to the surgeon's most recent wife Rachel.

The doctor grabbed V.E.'s neck with both ha nds and started to squeeze.

Federal court papers filed in early January note that the incident started an hour after departure when Brown stormed into the plane's front galley area and demanded his meal and wine. The doc was escorted back to his first-class seat by two flight attendants.

When a third attendant — dubbed V.E. in legal documents — told Brown she would serve him shortly, he reportedly grabbed her arm and began making rude sexual comments. V.E. broke his grip and immediately reported him to the flight captain.

As she returned with his meal, Brown stood up and knocked the food on his lap. The doctor then grabbed V.E.'s neck with both hands and started to squeeze. The court report says "he asked her if she was a strong woman."

Another attendant came to assist V.E., but Brown allegedly grabbed her neck with his free hand. He told them "he was going to get naked in front of the passengers and then began making rude sexual comments about what he was going to do to them."

The court report notes  that "he asked her if she was a strong  woman."

And then the doctor fell asleep.

Roughly seven hours later, he was facing charges for "interfering with the duties of a flight attendant." He claimed to officers that he didn't remember the incident, adding that while he is a "touchy feely" person, he is far from violent. He said he may have touched an attendant, but not in an inappropriate manner.

The legal response: Medication

On Wednesday, CultureMap spoke with New York-based attorney Robert Hantman, who us representing Brown in his divorce proceedings with Rachel Brown as well as in this current in-flight choking fiasco.

"This all has to do with a negative reaction to Restoril, which he had just started taking at the time of the incident," Hantman said. (The drug typically is prescribed for treating sleep disorders.)

"The medication was prescribed as part of an agreement to allow him to see his kids, whom he hasn't seen in a year. He was really looking forward to having visitation rights."

"This man invented something that's helped countless people with their hands. Aft er all that, this is what he gets."

Hantman said the violent outbreak and subsequent memory loss were caused by Restoril — which Brown continues to take, but at a much lower dose. While he continues to help resolve the British Airways scenario, Hantman hasn't lost his focus on the divorce.

"Dr. Brown has been in and out of court for years, spending millions on legal fees while his ex-wife sits in a mansion he bought before they were even married," the lawyer said.

"This man invented something that's helped countless people with their hands. As a doctor, he was always led by the heart . . . After all that, this is what he gets."

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