Flight Attendant To Black Female Doctor: 'We're Looking For Actual Physicians'

by Sarah Hosseini
Originally Published: 

Flight attendant blocks black female doctor from attending a passenger who needs help

All of us hope that a doctor or nurse happens to be on our plane should a medical emergency arise. Their presence could literally be the difference between life and death. But, what if something happens and that life-saving person is blocked from helping you? Stopped from saving your life?

That’s precisely what happened on a recent Delta flight from Detroit to Minneapolis. Tamika Cross, MD a resident OB/GYN from Houston, Texas was on board when a woman two rows ahead of her started screaming for help saying her husband was unresponsive. Cross said she went into “doctor mode” in her viral Facebook post about the incident, but was shut down and blocked by a flight attendant.

Cross said she unbuckled her seat belt, threw up her tray table and was about to stand up when a flight attendant told everyone to stay calm, it was just a “night terror.” With her doctor instincts and bazillion years of medical training Cross decided to watch the situation for a bit anyway, just in case. Of course, because that’s what a medical professional would do.

A couple of minutes later the situation escalated and the man was unresponsive again. The flight attendant made a call for any physicians on board. That’s when Cross raised her hand.

“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 in her post. Cross said she was trying to tell her that she was a doctor, but was constantly cut off.

The flight attendants made another announcement and this time instructed any and all physicians on board to press their overhead button. Cross said she stared at the same flight attendant while pressing her button.

“She said ‘Oh wow, you’re an actual physician?'” Cross responded, “Yes.”

“She said ‘let me see your credentials. What type of doctor are you? Where do you work Why were you in Detroit?'” That was definitely not the time for the third degree. There was an emergency on board. “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,” she wrote.

Cross told the flight attendant that she worked in Houston as an OB/GYN. Another doctor (white male) on board approached the row and said he was a physician as well. To which the flight attendant dismissed Cross and told her, “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.'”

The good news is that the patient started responding to questions and seemed to be improving. Cross wrote, “Then this heifer has the nerve to ask for my input on what to do next about 10 minutes later.” LOL. Seriously lady, now you want to accept her help?

Despite her understandable anger she walked the flight attendant through monitoring the patient because that’s what medical professionals do. They put all of their personal feelings aside.

Cross said the flight attendant apologized to her several times and offered her SkyMiles, to which she refused because “I don’t want SkyMiles in exchange for blatant discrimination.”

“Whether this was race, age, [or] gender discrimination, it’s not right. She will not get away with this … and I will get my SkyMiles…”

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