21:24 GMT24 February 2021
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    In October, a Facebook post by a black doctor who was barred from providing assistance during a medical emergency on a Delta flight went rapidly viral, and now her story has led to a change in airline policy.

    Tamika Cross, an OB-GYN in Houston, detailed how a man on her flight had gone unresponsive and so she “naturally jumped into Doctor mode as no one else was getting up.”

    “A couple mins later he is unresponsive again and the flight attendant yells ‘call overhead for a physician on board’. I raised my hand to grab her attention. She said to me ‘oh no sweetie put ur 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’ I tried to inform her that I was a physician but I was continually cut off by condescending remarks,” Cross wrote of the incident.

    After the call went out from the overhead speakers, Cross again asserted that she is a doctor. The flight attendant reportedly replied saying, “oh wow, you’re an actual physician?” When Cross asserted that she was, all while the medical emergency is still ongoing, the flight attendant went on to demand to see her credentials, ask where she works, and what type of doctor she is.

    “I respond ‘OBGYN, work in Houston, in Detroit for a wedding, but believe it or not they DO HAVE doctors in Detroit. Now excuse me so I can help the man in need.’ Another ‘seasoned’ white male approaches the row and says he is a physician as well. She says to me ‘thanks for your help but he can help us, and he has his credentials.’ (Mind you he hasn't shown anything to her. Just showed up and fit the ‘description of a doctor’) I stay seated. Mind blown. Blood boiling,” Cross detailed in her post.

    The airline responded to the situation, which has garnered over 155,000 reactions on Facebook, and was shared nearly 50,000 times, by saying that they were “investigating the incident.”

    “Discrimination of any kind is never acceptable,” Delta spokeswoman Catherine Sirna said in a statement at the time. “We’ve been in contact with Dr. Cross and one of our senior leaders is reaching out to her to assure her that we’re completing a full investigation.”

    Now, Delta Airlines has announced that Cross has been invited to speak with Delta CEO Ed Bastian, and that it has led to a change in policy regarding medical emergencies.

    Now, retroactively effective as of December 1, flight attendants are not required to verify medical credentials during emergencies, as there is currently no legal or regulatory requirement to do so.

    “The feedback Dr. Cross provided gave us a chance to make flying better,” Delta said in a statement.


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