When you see someone in a life-threatening situation regarding their physical health and help is clearly needed, you immediately step aside once you hear someone identify themselves as a doctor so they can do what they can to help, right?
Not if you work for Delta Air Lines, apparently, because interrogating the African-American woman willing and able to provide medical assistance (for non-racist reasons, I’m sure) is of greater and more pressing importance, according to this Facebook post by Dr. Tamika Cross:
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.
Was on Delta flight DL945 and someone 2 rows in front of me was screaming for help. Her husband was unresponsive. I naturally jumped into Doctor mode as no one else was getting up. Unbuckle my seatbelt and throw my tray table up and as I’m about to stand up, flight attendant says “everyone stay calm, it’s just a night terror, he is alright”. I continue to watch the scene closely.
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. (Man is responding the his questions and is seemingly better now Thank God)
Then this heifer has the nerve to ask for my input on what to do next about 10 mins later. I tell her we need vitals and blood sugar. She comes back to report to me a BP of 80/50 (super low, to my non medical peeps) and they can’t find a glucometer. We continue down that pathway of medical work up, but the point is she needed my help and I continued to help despite the choice words I had saved up for her. The patient and his wife weren’t the problem, they needed help and we were mid flight.
She came and apologized to me several times and offering me skymiles. I kindly refused. This is going higher than her. I don’t want skymiles in exchange for blatant discrimination. 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….
Unless Dr. Cross is a shape-shifter and got up from her seat to provide medical assistance while looking like this…
…instead of looking like this…
…then there’s no reason whatsoever why Dr. Cross should have received such hostile and disrespectful treatment, especially when someone’s life was at stake.
Naturally, Black Twitter once again came together like Voltron and did their part by creating the #WhatADoctorLooksLike hashtag so that none of the flight attendants for Delta Air Lines (or any other airline, for that matter) have a reason to be confused or act downright stupid and reckless when it comes to what doctors look like:
And this statement by Dr. Barbara Stoll, dean of McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) was posted on UTHealth’s Facebook page:
“Dr. Tamika Cross is a fine resident and we are proud of her accomplishments, dedication to her patients and her willingness to provide help when needed. McGovern Medical School, located in the largest medical center in the world and in one of the most diverse cities in the country, honors diversity in our students, trainees, faculty and staff. They represent the face of health care now, as well as in the future.” #whatadoctorlookslike #tamikacross
So if you’re foolish enough to believe and act as if Black women can’t possibly be doctors and that the only doctors worth acknowledging and listening to look like this…
…then you should tender your resignation immediately, stick to watching BBC America, and let someone who is far more open-minded and capable take your place. Because your racism and idiocy could easily result in someone losing his or her life as a result.
Brian Richards lives in Brooklyn and always reminds himself that no matter how sick he gets, don’t go see Dr. Acula.