Delta Airlines is apologizing for a “misunderstanding” that took place on one of its flights when a Black Harvard educated doctor was repeatedly asked to explain her credentials; even after showing her medical license.
Boston 25 News reports, Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford was flying on a Republic Airlines flight, which is one of Delta’s carriers, from Indianapolis to Boston last Tuesday when a passenger began shaking and hyperventilating.
Seeing the passenger needed help, Dr. Stanford presented her medical license to one of the flight attendants. She told Boston 25 News she did this because she had attended a conference on medical bias just weeks before this incident, where she interviewed another black doctor who was also asked for their credentials on a Delta flight.
But, her license wasn’t enough for the flight attendants.
“She looked at it, walked down to the back of the plane. Then the second flight attendant approached me and asked, ‘Well, can I see your license again?’ and I said, ‘Absolutely,’” Stanford told the local news outlet.
Stanford continued to tend to the passenger,and the first flight attendant returned and questioned Stanford’s credentials again.
Stanford recalls the attendant saying, “You’re not really a doctor. You’re just a head doctor,” implying that Stanford was a therapist.
“I said, ‘Excuse me, what do you mean by that?’” Stanford told Boston 25 News. The attendant responded, “‘Oh, so you’re not really an MD, are you?’”
Dr. Stanford practices obesity medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital as a physician-scientist. She’s also works as a policymaker at the hospital and teaches at Harvard Medical School, according to the Huffington Post.
A Delta spokesperson, Anthony Black, told the Huffington Post that Delta doesn’t require doctors to show their medical credentials to help sick passengers. Black also emphasized that the flight was technically a Republic Airlines flight, with their personnel and operating and training procedures.