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Black Doctor Prevented from Helping a Passenger Sparks Delta Airlines Policy Change

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In October, Tamika Cross was on a Delta Airlines flight from Detroit to Minneapolis. During the flight, one of the passengers began screaming for someone to help her husband who was having a medical emergency. Flight attendants asked if there was a physician on board.

Tamika, an obstetrician and gynecologist, got the attention of one of the crew members and offered to help the passenger. She was told “We are looking for actual physicians or nurses or some type of medical personnel, we don’t have time to talk to you.”

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After the incident, she shared her experience in Facebook post that has since been shared over 48,000 times. Delta responded via Facebook saying the incident “Does not reflect the Delta culture. We condemn discrimination toward our customers.”

As of December 1st, Delta has now changed their policy and no longer requires medical professionals to provide credentials before assisting passengers. According to the airline, “Delta found that there is no legal or regulatory requirement upon the airline to view medical professional credentials. And, as it becomes more and more common for medical licenses to be verified online, physicians and nurses often do not carry a license with them and some states no longer issue wallet versions.”

Dr. Cross responded to the policy change in a Facebook post on December 19th:

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-Tony Oluwatoyin Lawson

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