Apparently, if you’re a black female doctor flying Delta Airlines, certain flight attendants would rather let a passenger die, or allow nurses to come to their assistance, if a passenger is in medical distress.
Last week, Dr. Tamika Cross made social media headlines when she recounted her experience dealing with a Delta Airlines flight attendant who didn’t believe she was a doctor. The incident spawned the #WhatADoctorLooksLike hashtag to dispel the notion that black women aren’t out there saving lives.
On the heels of Cross’ incident, yet another doctor has taken to Facebook to share a similar story. Dr. Ashley Denmark wrote about her flight on Delta Airlines and how the flight attendant didn’t believe she was a doctor and instead allowed nurses to help the passenger:
As I settled in to watch a movie and read a book, about 1 hour into our flight over the intercom, a flight attendant requested a doctor or nurse to report to front of cabin to assist a passenger. When duty calls it calls- even if you are 30,000 feet in air. Without hesitation, I got out of my seat and made my way towards the front of the cabin where I was greeted by two Caucasian women and a delta flight attendant. I quickly asked “What’s going on?” Then I stated, “I’m a doctor. How can I help?” Immediately, I was greeted by puzzled looks from all three women. The flight attendant asked, “Are you a doctor?” to which I replied “Yes.” My response only left a more puzzled look on the attendant’s face. She turned around and began to talk to another flight attendant. I stood there in bewilderment because someone on the plane was in need of medical assistance and no one was escorting me to the passenger in need. Finally, one of the Caucasian passengers who came to assist spoke and stated her and the other passenger present to assist were both nurses. Then she asked, “Are you a doctor?” to which I responded “Yes” …..again. She immediately responded “Well you need credentials to show you are a medical professional.” I gave a funny look but, remained composed and quickly quipped “I have my hospital badge which should be enough.”
Obviously her hospital badge wasn’t enough because the flight attendants informed Denmark that her help wasn’t needed. But, Denmark went on to write, the scenario was all too familiar.
“As an African American female physician, I am too familiar with this scenario. Despite overcoming and excelling academically and obtaining the title of Dr. in front of my name, I still get side-eye glances when I introduce myself as Dr. Denmark. Commonly, I’m mistaken for an assistant, janitor, secretary, nurse, student, etc even when I have my white coat on,” Denmark wrote.
And that’s a pretty sad commentary for 2016.