A black doctor is speaking out after she says she tried to help an unconscious passenger on a recent Delta flight, only to be turned away by a flight attendant who questioned whether she was really a doctor.
Dr. Tamika Cross, an OBGYN resident at Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital in Houston, took to Facebook last weekend to share her frustration over the incident, in which she says the flight attendant rejected her offer of help and asked to see her credentials.
“Whether this was race, age, gender discrimination, it’s not right,” Cross wrote in the post.
The encounter unfolded during her recent trip from Detroit, when a flight attendant called for any physicians onboard to come to the aid of an “unresponsive” man. Cross raised her hand to volunteer.
“Oh no sweetie put [your] hand down, we are looking for actual physicians or nurses or some type of medical personnel, we don’t have time to talk to you,” Cross recalled the attendant telling her. “I tried to inform her that I was a physician, but I was continually cut off by condescending remarks,” Cross wrote in a Facebook post that has been shared more than 38,000 times since Sunday.
After staff on the plane put out an additional call for medical assistance, Cross says she got the same flight attendant’s attention again.
“She said ‘oh wow you’re an actual physician? I reply yes. She said ‘let me see your credentials. What type of Doctor are you? Where do you work? Why were you in Detroit?'” Cross wrote.
According to Cross’s post, when a white male doctor told the attendant he was a physician as well, she didn’t request his credentials. “Thanks for your help but he can help us, and he has his credentials,” Cross said she told her.
Delta said in a statement that it is conducting a full investigation.
“We are troubled by any accusations of discrimination and take them very seriously,” the Delta statement said. The company added, “Three medical professionals identified themselves on the flight in question. Only one was able to produce documentation of medical training and that is the doctor who was asked to assist the customer onboard. In addition, paramedics met the flight to assist the customer further.”
Cross added that the attendant later apologized and offered her SkyMiles. “I don’t want SkyMiles in exchange for blatant discrimination,” Cross wrote.
Read Cross’s full account here.
In response to Cross’s story, people have been voicing support on Twitter using the hashtag #WhatADoctorLooksLike.
[h/t Washington Post]