Delta Flight Attendant Blocks Doctor Tamika Cross From Caring for a Sick Passenger

A passenger in need on a Delta flight from Detroit to Minneapolis had to wait longer than necessary for care because a flight attendant prohibited Tamika Cross, a black doctor, from caring for him. Now, Cross, an OB-GYN resident at the University of Texas-Houston, is firing back at Delta for discrimination.

“Was on Delta flight DL945 and someone 2 rows in front of me was screaming for help. Her husband was unresponsive,” Cross explained in a Facebook post on Sunday. “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.”

The man’s lack of response was not a night terror, and a few minutes later he was unresponsive again, prompting the flight attendant to ask if there were any physicians on board.

“I raised my hand to grab her attention,” Cross recalled in her post. “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.’”

When Cross finally got through, the attendant bombarded her with questions. “She said ‘oh wow you’re an actual physician?’ I reply yes,” Cross posted on Facebook. “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).”

During the attendant’s questioning of Cross, another doctor approached and was allowed through without any examination of his credentials. “[The flight 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’).”

The flight attendant ultimately apologized to Cross, offering her SkyMiles, but Cross kindly refused. “This is going higher than her. I don’t want skymiles in exchange for blatant discrimination,” she said.

Hundreds of people have flooded Delta’s Facebook page with negative comments regarding the company’s discriminatory behavior, to which the airline has publicly responded, “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.”

Since Cross’s post went viral, other black doctors have joined in, sharing photos of themselves and tweeting at Delta with the hashtag #Whatadoctorlookslike.

You can read Cross’s full post below.

The Mighty reached out to Delta for comment and has yet to hear back. 

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