A Delta Air Lines flight attendant on Sunday allegedly questioned a black doctor about whether she was actually a medical professional when a passenger fell ill on a domestic flight.
Tamika Cross, a gynecologist from Houston, was on a Delta flight from Detroit to Houston when a passenger two rows in front of her started “screaming for help,” Cross wrote in a Facebook note that has now been shared thousands of times.
Cross said a flight attendant called for a physician on board to help, but when Cross raised her hand to assist the passenger’s husband, who was unresponsive at the time, the flight attendant told her, “Oh no sweetie put ur (sic) 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.”
Another flight attendant called overhead for a doctor onboard, Cross said. Cross said that when she signaled again that she was a doctor and made eye contact with the flight attendant, the woman responded, “oh wow you’re an actual physician?”
The attendant then asked Cross to produce her “credentials,” Cross said. According to Cross’ LinkedIn page, she obtained an M.D. from Meharry Medical College in 2013, and now works as a resident physician at the University of Texas Health Center in Houston.
Cross said the flight attendant further questioned her about what type of doctor she was and what she was doing in Detroit.
Another passenger, also a doctor, started attending to the sick passenger, who was now feeling better and responding to questions. The flight attendant and the other doctor consulted Cross on how to best care for the passenger.
While Cross says that the flight attendant apologized to her “several times,” and offered her Sky Miles, Cross “kindly refused,” Cross said on Facebook.
“I don’t want skymiles in exchange for blatant discrimination,” Cross said. “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….”
A representative at Delta told NBC News that the company is “in the process of conducting a full investigation” into the incident. The representative added that three medical professionals offered help on the flight, but only one provided credentials. The doctor who provided credentials was the one who was asked to assist the ailing passenger.
“We are 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,” Delta said in a statement, NBC reported.
Here’s Cross’s full Facebook post: