A black doctor claims she was discriminated against by a Delta Airlines flight attendant when she attempted to help an ill passenger.
Tamika Cross said she was told "we are looking for actual physicians" when she tried to offer treatment to a woman screaming for help.
Obstetrics and gynecology doctor Cross said that she was travelling on a Delta flight from Detroit en route to Houston on 9 October when a woman began screaming.
"Her husband was unresponsive," Cross wrote on Facebook. "I naturally jumped into doctor mode as no one else was getting up."
A flight attendant said the man was having a night terror – a form of sleep disorder in which a person partially awakens from sleep in a state of fear – and told everyone to remain calm.
But a couple of minutes later, Cross said, the man became unresponsive again and the flight attendant called out for a physician on board.
"I raised my hand to grab her attention," Cross wrote. "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."
"Then overhead they paged 'any physician on board please press your button'. I stare at her as I go to press my button.
"She said 'oh wow you're an actual physician?' I reply yes. She said 'let me see your credentials. What type of Doctor are you? Where do you work? Why were you in Detroit?' (Please remember this man is still in need of help and she is blocking my row from even standing up while Bombarding me with questions)."
Cross said she informed the flight attendant that she worked in Houston and was in Detroit for a wedding. By that point, Cross said a "'seasoned' white male' physician offered his help, and the flight attendant told her, "'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. (Man is responding to his questions and is seemingly better now Thank God)
Despite this, Cross said the flight attendant asked her to help the man about 10 minutes later.
Cross said the flight attendant later apologized and offered her SkyMiles.
"I kindly refused. This is going higher than her. I don't want skymiles in exchange for blatant discrimination," she wrote. "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...."
On Twitter messages of support for Cross have been trending under the #ThisIsWhatADoctorLooksLike hashtag.
In a statement, Delta spokesperson Catherine Sirna told KENS5 that "discrimination of any kind is never acceptable" and that the company has "been in contact with Dr Cross and one of our senior leaders is reaching out to assure her that we're completing a full investigation."