By now, everyone has probably heard about Dr. Tamika Cross’s experience with Delta Airlines and thousands have read about what she says was discrimination when attempting to aid a passenger on a flight who needed emergency assistance.
The OB-GYN, who is in her residency at McGovern Medical School in Texas, took to Facebook to share what happened to her, but since then EBONY has contacted her about the incident and she described why it frustrated her.
The Detroit native, who earned her M.D. from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, said she was headed to Minneapolis when a flight attendant requested help from a doctor.
According to Dr. Cross, a woman two rows in front of her was screaming for help. Her husband was unresponsive, and she “naturally jumped into doctor mode.”
As she was about to stand up, a flight attendant told Cross that he was alright. But he soon fell unresponsive and the flight attendant called for help, she said.
“I raised my hand to grab her attention as she walked back toward the other stewardess. She said to me, “Oh no sweetie, put your hand down, we are looking for physicians or nurses or some type of medical personnel, we do not have time to talk to you,” Cross said. “I tried to inform her that I was a physician but I was continually cut off by condescending remarks.”
Dr. Cross said she was badgered with questions by the flight attendant. Moments later, another man approached the scene and said he was a physician. According to Cross, he was a middle-aged White male.
“The flight attendant then immediately says to me, ‘Thanks for your help, but he is a physician and has his credentials and he can help us.'”
But Cross said she never saw the man pull out any credentials to show the flight attendant.
“At this point, my mind was blown and my blood was boiling,” Dr. Cross said. “Still obviously concerned, I look over and see the passenger is responding to questions, and is responsive. Several minutes into the physician interviewing the patient, the flight attendant continued to come back to me requesting for additional help/pointers. I continued to help despite the blatant disrespect, because my calling is being a physician.”
According to the Facebook post, Cross gave instructions to the flight attendant on what to do and what the distressed man needed.
Cross said the patient was evaluated and escorted off the plane by paramedics upon landing in Minneapolis. She also said the flight attendant apologized to her several times and offered sky miles for the “confusion.” She says that she does not understand why she wasn’t allowed to assist in the first place.
In a statement released soon after the incident, Delta Airlines said it is continuing to look into the details of Dr. Cross’s claims and is “troubled by any accusations of discrimination and take them very seriously.”
“The experience Dr. Cross has described is not reflective of Delta’s culture or of the values our employees live out every day. We are in the process of conducting a full investigation. We’ve reached out to Dr. Cross to speak with her directly, talked with our crew members and we’re reaching out to customers who were on board to gather as much information as we can.”
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