HOUSTON, Texas -- A black female doctor has accused Delta Air Lines of discrimination after a flight attendant allegedly refused to let her provide medical treatment to a passenger in need.
Tamika Cross, a resident at Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital in Houston, said she was on a flight from Detroit last week when someone two rows ahead of her had a medical emergency.
Cross said the flight attendants began asking for help, and when she raised her hand, her help was rejected.
"As she's like going past my seat, I raised my hand trying to grab her attention and explain to her that I was a physician," Cross said. "She immediately replied, you know, saying, 'Oh no sweetie, put your hand down. You know, we're looking for physicians, some type of medical personnel, we have an emergency right now, we don't have time to talk to you.'"
Cross says that's when a "white middle-aged man" came from the front of the plane to assist the passenger.
"It upset me that he was able to immediately give treatment, provide medical treatment to the patient and I wasn't, only for the simple fact that you know, I didn't see her ask him for his credentials," Cross said. "I didn't see him pull anything out. It definitely made me feel some type of way. Like, wow, you know, I'm a physician as well. I'm definitely, you know, qualified to be performing a medical assessment on somebody in need."
Later on, Cross said the flight attendant was asking for her input on how to help the unresponsive man.
Paramedics met the flight when it landed to assist the customer further.
Cross says the flight attendant apologized to her several times and offered her SkyMiles, while a supervisor at the gate offered her a free drink ticket for her next flight. She said she “kindly refused” the offers, saying that's not what she wants in exchange for "blatant discrimination" when "someone's life is on the line."
Her account of the incident on Facebook has gone viral.
"I do think that people make mistakes," Cross told NBC News. "I do think that this specific flight attendant, she probably has a family to feed. My goal isn't to get her fired. That's not my goal. I've heard different things and comments on the post. My goal was never to get her fired. But I do think that she could benefit from some sensitivity training, just to ensure that her, you know, innate biases don't get in the way of helping a passenger in need in the future."
Delta said three medical professionals offered to help, but only one provided credentials.
Delta said they have launched a full investigation and and are "troubled by the accusations" that are "not reflective of delta's culture or values." (Click here to read the statement)
Cross talked with NBC News about the incident. Click here to listen to the chat.
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