Black doctor says Delta Airlines staff refused to believe she was a medic during mid-flight emergency

'I'm sure many of my fellow young, corporate America working women of color can all understand my frustration '

Click to follow
The Independent US

While traveling on a Delta Airlines flight, Dr Tamika Cross, a black doctor from Houston, says the airline staff refused to believe that she was a doctor during a mid-flight emergency.

When Dr Cross attempted to treat an ailing passenger, who became unresponsive, she says she was met with unexpected racism from a flight attendant who doubted that she was a practicing physician. 

“I'm sure many of my fellow young, corporate America working women of color can all understand my frustration when I say I'm sick of being disrespected,” Dr Cross said, detailing the incident in a Facebook post last Sunday. Her story has received more than 55,000 reactions and over 20,000 shares.

When she attempted to assist a passenger, who was crying for help and sitting a few seats in front of her, she received unexpected criticism from a flight attendant who doubted that she was a practicing physician.

After the attendant called for a physician, Dr Cross raised her hand to get her attention. “She said to me, '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,’” she explained.

“I tried to inform her that I was a physician but I was continually cut off by condescending remarks.”

Dr Cross, a fourth-year resident in the obstetrics-gynecology department at the University of Texas Health System, said an overhead announcement called for physicians onboard to press their buttons, and when she pressed her button, the attendant was still in disbelief.

“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?’ (Please remember this man is still in need of help and she is blocking my row from even standing up while Bombarding me with questions),” she continued, answering the questions when a white male doctor approached the conversation identifying himself as a physician.

“[The attendant] says to me ‘thanks for your help but he can help us, and he has his credentials’. (Mind you he hasn't shown anything to her. Just showed up and fit the ‘description of a doctor’) I stay seated. Mind blown. Blood boiling. (Man is responding [to] his questions and is seemingly better now Thank God),” she writes.

Delta Airlines responded to the incident with the following statement. “Discrimination of any kind is never acceptable. We’ve been in contact with Dr Cross and one of our senior leaders is reaching out to assure her that we’re completing a full investigation.”

The airline recently came under fire in September after a Muslim couple said they were discriminated against when they were removed from a flight because an attendant felt “uneasy.”