#WeDoExist: Flight Crew Refused To Believe This Black Woman Is A Doctor During An Emergency

Tamika Cross racist flight

Tamika K. Cross, MD/Photo: LinkedIn

What does a doctor look like when they’re not in their signature white coat? According to personnel on a recent Delta flight, not like Dr. Tamika K. Cross. Dr. Cross, a Black woman, was denied the opportunity to help save a passenger’s life on Delta flight DL945 after a flight attendant refused to believe that Cross was, in fact, a real doctor.

MUST READ: What Should A Doctor Look Like?

“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,” Dr. Cross began a lengthy Facebook message detailing the horrific experience. Unfortunately, her experience is all too common for us.

Investment maven Mellody Hobson recounted her experience of being mistaken for the back room help and asked where was her uniform at a business luncheon in her powerful 2014 TED Talk on race.

We literally have to wear our credentials on our sleeves, and even that’s not enough at times.

How’s this for credentials: According to Dr. Cross’ LinkedIn profile, she is a Resident Physician – Obstetrician and Gynecologist at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). She received her Doctor of Medicine (MD) designation from Meharry Medical College and a Bachelor of Science in Brain Behavior and Cognitive Science from University Michigan.

In a sentence, Dr. Dross was more than qualified to assist in a medical emergency.

Tamika Cross Delta flight

Dr. Tamika Cross/Photo: Facebook

 As she explained in her Facebook post:

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.