ATLANTA -- Delta has released a statement after a black doctor said a flight attendant told her "we are looking for actual physicians" when she tried to help during an emergency.
Tamika Cross, an OB-GYN in Houston, posted about the incident on Sunday. She said that she was on a Delta flight from Detroit when a man a couple of rows in front of her had a medical emergency. After Cross tried to step in, she said the flight attendant showed doubts that she was a real physician.
"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," Cross wrote.
Cross said a white male later approached the area and announced he was a doctor.
"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," Cross wrote.
According to her posting the attendant later apologized and offered her SkyMiles.
Cross' post has generated more than 109K reactions, nearly 40,000 shares and more than 15,000 comments by Friday afternoon. Many took to social media to express their outrage with Delta, using hashtags #wedoexist or #WhatDoctorsLookLike.
While Delta released a statement after the post went viral, they released a new, more thorough statement on Friday. It read:
"Delta continues to investigate a story surfaced by Dr. Tamika Cross in a recent post on Facebook.
We are troubled by any accusations of discrimination and take them very seriously. The experience Dr. Cross has described is not reflective of Delta’s culture or of the values our employees live out every day. We are in the process of conducting a full investigation. We’ve reached out to Dr. Cross to speak with her directly, talked with our crew members and we’re reaching out to customers who were on board to gather as much information as we can.
While there is much we can’t share because our investigation involves confidential personnel matters, we do want to share what we can.
Three medical professionals identified themselves on the flight in question. Only one was able to produce documentation of medical training and that is the doctor who was asked to assist the customer onboard. In addition, paramedics met the flight to assist the customer further.
Flight attendants are trained to collect information from medical volunteers offering to assist with an onboard medical emergency. When an individual’s medical identification isn’t available, they’re instructed to ask questions such as where medical training was received or whether an individual has a business card or other documentation and ultimately to use their best judgment.
Delta's commitment to diversity, inclusion and respect of all of our customers worldwide is rooted deeply in our company’s values and culture. As a global carrier with a diverse workforce, serving a diverse customer base, we are committed to treating all passengers with kindness and respect."
Cross is a fourth-year resident in the obstetrics-gynecology department of the University of Texas Health System in Houston, according to the school's website — meaning she is licensed to practice medicine although not fully certified in her specialty
Material from the Detroit Free Press was used in this report