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Doctor accuses Delta Air Lines flight attendant of discrimination during emergency

“Oh no, sweetie, put your hand down,” she said the flight attendant told her. “We are looking for actual physicians or nurses or some type of medical personnel, we don’t have time to talk to you.”
TAMIKA CROSS/FACEBOOK VIA CBS NEWS

A black, female doctor accused a Delta Air Lines flight attendant of discrimination when the doctor tried to help a passenger who fell ill during a flight. The airline said it’s investigating the incident.

On Sunday, Dr. Tamika Cross of Houston said in a Facebook post that she volunteered to help a male passenger who became unresponsive during a flight from Detroit.

“Oh no, sweetie, put your hand down,” Cross said the flight attendant told her. “We are looking for actual physicians or nurses or some type of medical personnel, we don’t have time to talk to you.”

Cross said she “was continually cut off by condescending remarks” when she tried to tell the flight attendant that she was a doctor.

When Cross was able to identify herself as a physician, she said the flight attendant questioned her.

“Let me see your credentials,” Cross said the flight attendant told her. “What type of doctor are you? Where do you work? Why were you in Detroit?”

Before Cross could step in, a white, male doctor started to evaluate the passenger, she said.

The flight attendant later asked Cross for her input on how to proceed, apologized and offered her miles in the airline’s rewards program, Cross said.

“This is going higher than her,” Cross said. “I don’t want skymiles in exchange for blatant discrimination. Whether this was race, age, gender discrimination, it’s not right.”

On Friday, Delta said in a statement that it was investigating Cross’ accusations and has contacted her and other passengers.

“We are troubled by any accusations of discrimination and take them very seriously,” the airline said. “The experience Dr. Cross has described is not reflective of Delta’s culture or of the values our employees live out every day.”

The airline said three medical professionals offered to help the unresponsive passenger, and only one could produce documentation of medical training.

“Flight attendants are trained to collect information from medical volunteers offering to assist with an onboard medical emergency,” the airline said. “When an individual’s medical identification isn’t available, they’re instructed to ask questions such as where medical training was received or whether an individual has a business card or other documentation and ultimately to use their best judgment.”

The Houston Chronicle reported Thursday that Cross’ mother said she wouldn’t be doing any interviews at this time.

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