iStock/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) — Social media users have started the hashtags #WeDoExist and #WhatDoctorsLookLike to support Dr. Tamika Cross, a black doctor from Houston who has accused Delta Air Lines of discrimination.
In a Facebook post that has garnered over 110,000 reactions and more than 40,000 shares in the past week, Cross wrote that a Delta Air Lines flight attendant snubbed her and made “condescending remarks” when she volunteered to help a passenger having a medical emergency.
When Cross raised her hand in response to a call for a physician on board, Cross said that the flight attendant allegedly told her, “oh no sweetie put ur [sic] 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.”
Cross claimed that when she tried to explain that she was indeed a physician, the attendant “bombarded” her with questions, including, “What type of Doctor are you? Where do you work? Why were you in Detroit?”
The flight attendant eventually accepted the help of “another ‘seasoned’ white male” who approached and said he was a physician as well, Cross said.
Cross added that the flight attendant later “came and apologized [to] me several times and offering me skymiles,” but “I kindly refused.”
“I don’t want skymiles in exchange for blatant discrimination,” she said. “Whether this was race, age, gender discrimination, it’s not right. She will not get away with this….and I will still get my skymiles.”
Delta told ABC News in a statement Friday that it was has launched an investigation into the alleged incident.
“We are troubled by any accusations of discrimination and take them very seriously,” Delta said. “The experience Dr. Cross has described is not reflective of Delta’s culture or of the values our employees live out every day.”
The airline continued: “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.”
Delta added: “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.”
The airline also said that three medical professionals identified themselves on the flight in question, but only one was able to produce documentation of medical training — “and that is the doctor who was asked to assist the customer onboard.”
Cross did not immediately respond to ABC News’ requests for additional comment.
A spokesman for Harris Health System, which operates Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital in Texas, told ABC News Friday that Cross was a resident at the hospital and deferred additional questions to the McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, which is Cross’ official employer.
“Dr. Tamika Cross is a fine resident and we are proud of her accomplishments, dedication to her patients and her willingness to provide help when needed,” Dr. Barbara Stoll, dean of McGovern Medical School, told ABC News in a statement Friday.
“McGovern Medical School, located in the largest medical center in the world and in one of the most diverse cities in the country, honors diversity in our students, trainees, faculty and staff,” Stoll added. “They represent the face of health care now, as well as in the future.”
Meanwhile, scores of people have taken to social media using the hashtags #WeDoExist and #WhatDoctorsLookLike to support Cross and highlight diversity within the medical industry.
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