A Black doctor says she was not allowed to assist a passenger on a Delta airline during a mid-flight medical emergency due to discrimination.
And as a result, Black woman doctors from all over the country are taking to social media to raise awareness that they do exist.
Crazy that they even have to do that, right?
Dr. Tamika Cross, who is in her OB-GYN residency at McGovern Medical School in Texas, said she was headed to Minneapolis from Detroit when the incident occurred.
“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,” Cross wrote in an Oct. 9 Facebook post detailing the incident.
Cross said she was returning home to Houston from a wedding in Detroit with a layover in Minnesota.
“Was on Delta flight DL945 and someone 2 rows in front of me was screaming for help. Her husband was unresponsive. I naturally jumped into Doctor mode as no one else was getting up. Unbuckle my seatbelt and throw my tray table up and as I’m about to stand up, flight attendant says “everyone stay calm, it’s just a night terror, he is alright”. I continue to watch the scene closely.”
Cross wrote that the man was unresponsive again and the flight attendant called overhead for a physician on board.
“I raised my hand to grab her attention. She said to me ‘Oh no sweetie put ur 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’ I tried to inform her that I was a physician but I was continually cut off by condescending remarks.”
Cross, who earned her Doctorate of Medicine from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, said she attempted to help on multiple occasions, but was told by members of Delta’s flight staff to remain seated.
“Another “seasoned” white male approaches the row and says he is a physician as well. She 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.”
The man became responsive and received help from paramedics at the gate when the flight landed. After things settled down, one of the flight attendants approached Cross, according to her Facebook post.
“She came and apologized to me several times and offering me Skymiles,” Cross wrote. “I kindly refused. This is going higher than her. I don’t want Skymiles in exchange for blatant discrimination. Whether this was race, age, gender discrimination, it’s not right.”
EBONY reached out to Cross for comment, but as of Friday morning she has not responded.
But under the #WhatADoctorLooksLike hashtag, Black woman doctors are speaking out on her behalf.
Say @Delta , since some of your employees need a course on what a physician may look like, here are a few for you… #WhatADoctorLooksLike pic.twitter.com/zIvr6tLCMY
— Taara Sultaana (@TaaraSultaana) October 14, 2016
.@Delta I got MD in ’92 from @JeffersonUniv. We’re not new or a novelty. Sad this is needed.Sadder I’m not surprised. #WhatADoctorLooksLike pic.twitter.com/eVWmo732Ma
— Dr. Donna (@DonnaHamiltonMD) October 14, 2016
.@Delta I stand with my classmate Dr. Tamika Cross because this is #WhatADoctorLooksLike. pic.twitter.com/9ywB3yx9Sc
— Dr. Killa K (@BacktoKaliKali) October 13, 2016
Cross’s post went viral, and as a result, Delta released the following statement on the subject.
“Discrimination of any kind is never acceptable,” Delta spokeswoman Catherine Sirna told MLive.com by email Thursday. “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.”
In a statement released Friday, Delta said is it continuing to investigate the incident, and that the airline is “troubled by any accusations of discrimination and take them very seriously.”
Read the company’s full statement here.
And here are more reactions to the situation via social media: