You may recall back in 2016, a black doctor was prevented from helping a person on a Delta Airlines flight from Detroit to Minneapolis because the flight crew didn’t believe she was a real doctor. She didn’t have her license with her.
Delta said all the right things in the aftermath of the incident and instituted a new policy to prevent future “misunderstandings.”
So the latest incident on a Delta flight is troubling.
Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford was on a flight from Indianapolis to Boston on Tuesday night when a passenger suffered a panic attack. She tried to help.
This time, the doctor, who is black, had a medical license with her.
It still wasn’t good enough, she tells the Boston Globe.
She said she was approached by a female flight attendant, who asked whether she was a doctor, to which Stanford answered “yes,” while pulling out her medical license. The attendant reviewed the license and said, “So, you’re not a head doctor?” Stanford recalled.
Stanford said she told the attendant she had just shown her credentials that clearly said she’s a medical doctor. The attendant then walked to the back of the plane, before a second female flight attendant approached Stanford asking to see her license, Stanford said.
Stanford handed her license to the second attendant, who questioned her again and said, “This is your license?” Stanford said. The attendant then walked away, allowing Stanford to continue comforting the passenger.
Delta changed its policy after the Minneapolis flight. Doctors are no longer required to show their certification before helping another passenger.
“I don’t understand why there was a dialogue there,” Stanford said. “I showed them my license twice, and they still didn’t believe it was mine. None of that was taken into account, and I thought that was quite frustrating.”
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
“Why would I be sharing someone else’s license? I try to prepare myself so that there are no questions, so we can get past that, and do whatever I can do to help. That was not something that was encouraged in this case, and I felt that was a bit frustrating.”
Delta said it’s investigating.
The doctor said the airline’s response is underwhelming.