A woman named Tamika Cross says she was on a Delta flight from Detroit last weekend when a man aboard her plane became ill and unresponsive. The crew made a call for a doctor on the plane to come help. Cross is an OBGYN, and raised her hand to help. Instead of being met with joyful relief, she was met with skepticism and dismissal.
In a long Facebook post, Cross writes, “A couple mins later he is unresponsive again and the flight attendant yells 'call 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.
"Then overhead they paged 'any physician on board please press your button.' I stare at her as I go to press my button. 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).
"I respond 'OBGYN, work in Houston, in Detroit for a wedding, but believe it or not they DO HAVE doctors in Detroit. Now excuse me so I can help the man in need.' 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.”
Cross says the man was revived, and the crew attendant actually approached her asking for advice. She helped for the sake of the sick passenger, but she is pissed as hell with Delta and has firmly refused their offer of skymiles as an apology.
Cross’s story has inspired other black women physicians to share their photos with the hashtag #WhatADoctorLooksLike:
And there's much more where that came from. Because, guess what? A doctor is not defined by their race or gender, but by their knowledge that can help keep you alive until the end of a dramatic domestic airplane ride.