By now, plenty of people have heard the story of Dr. Tamika Cross, who was kept from offering medical care to a man on a flight because the flight crew doubted her credentials because she was black. Now, another black doctor is coming forward with a similar story of discrimination on a Delta flight.
Dr. Ashley Denmark says that, during a flight from Seattle to Hawaii, she responded to an on-board request for medical assistance, but when she approached the flight crew, her credentials were repeatedly questioned.
“I was greeted by two Caucasian women and a [Delta] flight attendant,” Denmark explained in a post on the blog Melanin in Medicine. “I quickly asked ‘What’s going on?’ Then, I stated, ‘I’m a doctor. How can I help?'”
However, the flight crew repeatedly questioned her credentials. Denmark then showed her hospital badge to try to prove that she was who she said she was. Ultimately, two white nurses were able to help, despite medical protocol to defer to doctors before nurses. Denmark was not permitted to help at all.
“As an African-American female physician, I am too familiar with this scenario,” Denmark wrote. “Commonly, I’m mistaken for an assistant, janitor, secretary, nurse, student, etc. even when I have my white coat on; I’m called these names more frequently than I would like, instead of Dr. Denmark.”