T. R. Causay –Blackdoctor.org
Back in October 2016, Dr. Tamika K. 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.
“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.
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. Cross was more than qualified to assist in a medical emergency.
Since then Delta has been the talk of social media and sparked a movement by beautiful Black women showcasing that yes, they too are doctors.
And finally, Delta has heard them and changed a policy too.
As of Dec. 1, the airline has stopped requiring medical professionals to furnish credentials before assisting passengers.
“When situations like the one described by Dr. Cross arise, we have a responsibility to our employees and…our customers to review the circumstances and our policies for opportunities to listen, learn and improve,” said Allison Ausband, senior vice president for In-Flight Service in an official statement.
Immediately following the incident, Delta put out a statement saying that the airline’s policy was to request medical credentials before allowing a sick person to be treated in-flight. Cross did not show her credentials, but another passenger did, the airline said.
But when was the last time you saw a doctor pull out his or her medical badge/card before saving someone–anywhere? I’ll wait…</strong>
The fact is, medical doctors don’t necessarily carry their hospital badge or have a medical license on hand, particularly if they’re flying home from a wedding or going on vacation. Delta’s policy was being implemented inconsistently; Cross had heard from diverse groups of people, who had sometimes been asked for credentials and sometimes not when trying to help sick passengers on flights.
Delta invited her to meet with executives at its headquarters, and asked Wayne Riley, a mentor and past president of the American College of Physicians to come with her. He told Delta executives that he had assisted with passengers in distress on several Delta flights over the years and never been asked to prove he was a doctor.
“Delta found that there is no legal or regulatory requirement upon the airline to view medical professional credentials. And, as it becomes more and more common for medical licenses to be verified online, physicians and nurses often do not carry a license with them and some states no longer issue wallet versions,” the airline said in a statement.
The company will also next year expand its diversity and inclusion training to “frontline employees,” including flight attendants, the statement said.