A black doctor said a Delta Air Lines flight attendant told her, “Oh no, sweetie, put your hand down,” when she tried to help during a medical emergency.
Delta announced an investigation Thursday as a Facebook post by Dr. Tamika Cross, an OBGYN resident, spread far and wide. Cross said staff questioned her credentials when she offered to aid an unresponsive man aboard a flight from Detroit to Minneapolis Sunday morning.
“I’m sure many of my fellow young, corporate America working women of color can all understand my frustration when I say I’m sick of being disrespected,” Cross wrote in the post. It had been shared over 25,000 times by Thursday afternoon.
“Discrimination of any kind is never acceptable,” Delta spokeswoman Catherine Sirna said in a statement. “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.”
A man did pass out on the flight mentioned by Cross, Flight DL945, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport spokesman Patrick Hogan told MLive. Paramedics treated the patient when the flight landed, Hogan said.
Cross said she had volunteered when the man lost consciousness for the second time on the flight and the attendant yelled to a colleague to ask if there were any physicians on the plane.
“She said to me, ‘Oh no, sweetie, put your 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,” Cross wrote.
The flight attendant then began “bombarding me with questions” when Cross identified herself as a doctor again, she said.
A white doctor then walked down the aisle to offer his services, according to Cross.
“She says to me, ‘Thanks for your help, but he can help us, and he has his credentials,” Cross wrote. “(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.”
The man who went unresponsive soon woke up and began responding to questions, and the flight attendant finally asked Cross for her help. She later apologized to Cross several times and asked if she wanted credit for extra air miles, according to Cross.
“I kindly refused,” Cross said. “This is going higher than her. I don’t want SkyMiles in exchange for blatant discrimination.”
Efforts to reach Cross, 28, were not immediately successful. A representative for the McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston said she was on call for baby deliveries Thursday afternoon.
Cross serves as the chief resident for obstetrician and gynecologist residents at the Harris Health Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital, according to UTHealth.
She is currently completing her fourth and final year of residency in the program.