- The Washington Times - Friday, October 14, 2016

A Houston physician who is black alleges that a Delta flight attendant forbade her from helping an ailing passenger on a recent flight out of Detroit.

Tamika Cross, an OB/GYN, relayed her side of the story on her Facebook page, NBC News reported Friday, saying that a flight attendant assumed she was not a trained medical professional.

“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,’” Dr. Cross wrote. “I tried to inform her that I was a physician but I was continually cut off by condescending remarks.”

Moments later, an elderly white man who said he was a doctor, but didn’t provide documentation, was allowed to help the troubled passenger, Dr. Cross added on her Facebook post, NBC reported. She added that the incident had her “blood boiling.”

For its part, however, the airline says that Dr. Cross simply did not have on her the required documentation showing she was a doctor.

Delta issued a statement on its Facebook page saying that it “continues to investigate” Dr. Cross’s claims.

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

Delta laid out its official policy for recognizing medical professionals for assisting in emergency situations.

“Flight attendants are trained to collect information from medical volunteers offering to assist with an onboard medical emergency,” the company statement 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.”

In the incident on Dr. Cross’s plane, only one of the three doctors on board “was able to produce documentation of medical training and that is the doctor who was asked to assist the customer onboard,” Delta said.

Commenters on the Delta page were divided about the company’s response.

“FWIW, I’m a physician and have been on no fewer than 4 flights with medical emergencies, on 3 different airlines including Delta,” commented one Thomas Clark, who works for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is white. “Every time I was asked for credentials before being allowed to help.”

Nesha Brown, who is black, argued that such stringent policies could be costly.

“Ok do your investigation,” she wrote. “But as a health care professional very few people Carry their credentials with them on vacations. I’m not a Doctor but a RN. But we still can not waste time and compromise a person[‘s] health waiting on someone to dig through luggage and purses to try produce credentials.”

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