Are you sure you’re a doctor?: Black doc blasts Delta for racial profiling her creds on flight
Harvard-educated Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford took to Twitter on Wednesday to voice her disgust at the conduct of the US carrier’s flight staff, who she said refused to believe she was a doctor despite showing them her medical license.
@delta I am very disappointed that your policies on #Diversity have not lead to any change. As a #blackwoman#doctor who showed my #medical license to help a passenger on DL5935 your #flightattendant still did not believe I was a #Physician. @DrSinhaEsq@DrKathyHughes— Fatima Cody Stanford, MD, MPH, MPA, FAAP, FACP (@fstanfordmd) October 31, 2018
The incident occurred onboard a flight from Indianapolis to Boston on Tuesday, when the woman sitting next to Stanford started shaking and hyperventilating.
While Stanford attended to the passenger, one flight attendant approached and asked was she a doctor, to which Stanford replied: “Yes.”
A second attendant then arrived to ask to see her medical license, to which Stanford obliged. A short time later, while the passenger was still being stabilized, they both returned to question if the license belonged to her.
Describing the whole exchange as “bizarre,” Stanford later told CNN: “The validity of me as a physician is being called into question.”
Delta’s social media arm was quick to reach out to Stanford following her online call out tweeting: “I am so sorry for your frustration Dr. Stanford. Please know that Delta does not condone discrimination for any reason and we take your comments very seriously. We are looking into further and will be reaching out to you directly.”
A spokesperson for the carrier later said that the flight attendants in question had initially misread Dr. Stanford’s credentials and that they only went back to reconfirm her specific medical discipline.
However, after speaking to Delta, Stanford said she was left unsatisfied by their response saying that the conversation left her uncertain “that any changes will be made.”
So I spoke with @Delta and I left the conversation quite uncertain that any changes will be made. Summary: flight attendants thought I was a #therapist despite #MDlicense. They will make sure this is addressed. Thanks for being a #skymiles member. Really?!$ #iamadoctor— Fatima Cody Stanford, MD, MPH, MPA, FAAP, FACP (@fstanfordmd) October 31, 2018
Social media has roared in favor of Dr. Stanford, with fellow medical professionals tweeting support for her calling out the airline for its bias, as well as giving their own experiences of being racially profiled while trying to give assistance to fellow passengers.
AA only reluctantly accepted me to help a passenger in acute distress because I was “only” licensed to practice medicine in Germany at that point in time. Alas, I was the only physician on board, and passenger was very distressed. Not a single word of appreciation after landing!— Sartorius Medicus (@SartoriusMD) November 1, 2018
So sorry this happened to you, @fstanfordmd. You look like a Dr to me! Maybe we just have to keep flooding social media with pics of Drs of all races and ethnicities. Maybe then @DeltaAirlineUS will get it? Delta: THIS is what Drs look like!— Quinn Capers, IV (@DrQuinnCapers4) November 1, 2018
Keep being awesome, Dr Stanford! pic.twitter.com/7oGKIMFzHB
We keep hearing these stories. Recent case of female OBGYN, who tried to help a sick passenger, she was dismissed by flight attendant, circulated on social media for days. Not sure if it's a gender or racial bias, or both, but @DeltaAirlineUS needs to fix this. #WomenInMedicine— Marjery N. Lopez (@marjery_n) October 31, 2018
I've never been asked to show my medical license when I responded to emergencies in flight like @fstanfordmd . Doctor says she was racially profiled while trying to help fellow passenger on @Delta@CNNhttps://t.co/1Ej5qO3nUv— Linda Girgis, MD (@DrLindaMD) November 1, 2018
This is wrong - @Delta needs to be held accountable for the #implicitbias of their staff - if you fly delta beware - they may not let a qualified physician help if you need it #ILookLikeADoctorhttps://t.co/hC0cyVvrkA— Dr. Ring (@Dr_B_Ring) October 31, 2018
Others meanwhile called out Delta for corporate dishonesty, pointing out that a similar refusal by Delta flight attendants to allow a black doctor treat an ill passenger in 2016 already prompted apologies and a promise to change policy.
Delta’s corporate response is #dishonest. A same offense led to a 1Dec2016 corp policy change. Oct2016 DrTamikaCross offerred to medical assistance was rudely rejected. Here’s some PR advice; use @Google search https://t.co/FGPSTo4P5U#BeingAPhysicianWhileBlackAndFlyingDeltapic.twitter.com/wvdb7sPbzA— Donna Willis, MD, MPH (@DonnaWillisMD) November 1, 2018
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