Delta flight attendant to black female doctor: We need 'actual physicians'

Flight attendant accused of discrimination

A black doctor says she was brushed aside by a Delta flight attendant when she attempted to help during an emergency.

Tamika Cross said she was told "we are looking for actual physicians" when she tried to respond to the call of a woman screaming for help. 

Cross, an OB-GYN in Houston, said she was on a Delta flight from Detroit Sunday when she first heard the other woman screaming.

"Her husband was unresponsive," Cross wrote on Facebook. "I naturally jumped into Doctor mode as no one else was getting up."

A flight attendant said the man was having "night terror" and urged everyone to calm down.

But a couple of minutes later, Cross said that the man went unresponsive again and the flight attendant called for a physician on board.

"I raised my hand to grab her attention," Cross wrote. "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."

After Cross went to push a button to indicate that she was a doctor, she said the attendant said, "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)."

Cross said she informed the flight attendant that she worked in Houston and was in Detroit for a wedding. By that point, Cross said a "'seasoned' white male' physician offered his help, and the flight attendant told her, "'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")"

Despite the rebuke, Cross said the flight attendant asked how to help the man about 10 minutes later.

Cross said the flight attendant later apologized and offered SkyMiles. 

"I kindly refused. This is going higher than her. I don't want skymiles in exchange for blatant discrimination," she wrote. "Whether this was race, age, gender discrimination, it's not right. She will not get away with this....and I will still get my skymiles...."

Cross's Facebook post about the incident has gone viral. As of Thursday evening, it had been liked by more than 74,000 people and shared nearly 30,000 times. 

In a statement Thursday night, Delta spokesperson Catherine Sirna told 11Alive that “discrimination of any kind is never acceptable" and that they'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.”

Many took to social media to express their outrage with Delta. Some used the hashtag #wedoexist, while others tweeted #WhatDoctorsLookLike.







In response to one of the complaints, Delta offered a more lengthy response on Facebook, saying, "As soon as this was brought to our attention we immediately reported this to the Leadership team and made a public statement later that day. We have been working non-stop to address this internally with the highest priority."

Cross has not made any public posts since her initial message about the incident. 

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(© 2016 WXIA)


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