Doctor Tamika Cross is a black female who works in Houston as an OBGYN. Her Facebook page tells us she was formerly working at University of Toledo Health and studied at Meharry Medical College and the University of MichiganTo her disbelief and shock the flight crew on board her Delta flight DL945 out of Detroit prevented her from rendering assistance to a passenger who fell ill and was unresponsive. The incident happened when a woman passenger two rows in front of Doctor Tamika started to shout for help as her husband was unresponsive.

Tamika is a doctor and doctors instinctively respond to calls for medical help. According to her post on her Facebook page, she unbuckled her seatbelt and was about to stand up to assist when the flight attendant told everyone to calm down as it was just a man suffering "a night terror" and he is "ok." 

Doctor condescendingly referred to as 'sweetie'

Well, it turned out he man was not "ok" and a few minutes later when he was once again unresponsive, the flight attendant called out for a physician, if there was one on board.


Here's the unbelievable bit. According to Tamika, she raised her hand at the call for a physician and the flight attendant said, "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."

Doctor questioned while passenger was unresponsive

When Tamika tried to explain that she was a doctor, she was ignored. Could this have been because she was black and a female? When the tannoy called out any for doctor on board to press their button, she did so, and the flight attendant finally listened to her, asking if she was actually a doctor. Then she demanded to see her credentials and questioned Tamika on where she worked and why she was in Detroit. What the reason for her to visit to Detroit had to do with anything is a bit odd.

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All this was going on while a distressed passenger was unresponsive in his seat. When Tamika  asked the flight attendant to excuse her so she could attend to the man in need, another doctor showed up. Not to put the man down, but it seems he was the preconcieved prototype male physician. Straight away, the flight attendant told Tamika that her help was not needed as they had a doctor now.

Despite this, the flight attendant did come back and ask Tamika questions about the treatment the man needed and later apologised. Well, as you can imagine Tamika is boiling hot over the incident which was plainly sexist, racist and a major putdown. One commentator on her Facebook page did point out the irony of Tamika being questioned about being a doctor, especially as the flight attendant had first misdiagnosed the patient as having "night terrors" - and she was no doctor at all.

Another commentator, Phillip Weiss said that "racism is deeply ingrained as are all stereotypes, including that doctors are white and male." He did elaborate on the flight attendant, suggesting that as the flight attendant did apologise, hopefully she will be more "considerate in the future." He then went on to suggest that "relevant training for her and other cabin crew would be ...productive." 

Delta need to provide proper training in this area

Delta surely need to address the problem of their flight attendants pre-judging people in a stereotypical manner.

After all, it is not as though flight attendants need qualifications in sociology to land the job. The flight attendant was perhaps wrong, but the onus should be on the company to ensure their staff are educated about these types of situations.

Delta Airlines Twitter account says that they are listening around the clock, 7 days a week. Delta are you listening to this appalling story?