Kindhearted Black Doctor Was Unjustly Harassed By The Airline Staff For Trying To Save A Sick Passenger's Life
How far should you go to determine that a health care provider is not some charlatan passing for a professional before you let them treat someone under your care? An unfortunate incident is causing people to ask questions and shines the light on America’s racism problem.
Medical racism is not new
For years, science was used to support false claims about the biological differences in people of different races. These days, the practice is openly frowned upon, people are becoming more informed and acknowledge that race has nothing to do with biology and health.
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New forms of this prejudice, however, continues to exist. And worse, medical practitioners are reportedly not properly prepared to deal with people of other races during the cause of their training.
Black doctor harrassed for doing her job
But in Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford’s case, she wasn’t the one with the prejudice problem. She was on the receiving end of racial discrimination simply because the airline staff did not think she fits the mold of a qualified health care provider.
@DeltaAirlineUS I am very disappointed that your policies on #Diversity have not lead to any change. As a #blackwoman #doctor who showed my #medical license to help a passenger on DL5935 your #flightattendant still did not believe I was a #Physician. @DrSinhaEsq @DrKathyHughes— Fatima Cody Stanford, MD, MPH, MPA, FAAP, FACP (@fstanfordmd) October 31, 2018
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
While on board of a Delta Airlines flight, the woman seated beside her began to hyperventilate. Fatima, who is both a Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School doctor and a teacher, intervened immediately.
Thanks @HopkinsMedicine for your warm reception for my grand rounds on #obesity today. @harvardmed @MGHMedicine @MGHDisparities @ObesityMedicine @ObesitySociety @OMAsocial @ACPinternists @ConscienHealth @ObesityAction pic.twitter.com/TRy0wRIHZe— Fatima Cody Stanford, MD, MPH, MPA, FAAP, FACP (@fstanfordmd) October 24, 2018
But she was stopped by the airline staff who went on to grill her even after she presented sufficient identification. A flight attendant asked her,
Are you a head doctor? Are you actually an M.D.?
People are outraged
Fatima says she believes the actions of the airline were racially motivated and tweeted about her experience with the hashtag #Blackwomendoctors #weexist. Online, people are outraged and speaking out in support.
Unbelievable, @Delta @DeltaAssist @DeltaAirlineUS. Dr. Stanford is one of the most accomplished and talented physicians I know. Shameful! Have you learned nothing from the Dr. Tamika Cross incident??? #WomenInMedicine #ILookLikeASurgeon #GirlMedTwitter #SheLeadsHealthcare https://t.co/vlS8PR44wb— Michael Sinha MD, JD, MPH (@DrSinhaEsq) October 31, 2018
This is outrageous and insulting to the entire medical profession- Half of all #physicians are women - diversity is the rule with #doctors @fstanfordmd @arghavan_salles @choo_ek @LoggheMD #ILookLikeASurgeon https://t.co/w0fD3v7AJ9— Neil Floch MD (@NeilFlochMD) October 31, 2018
@Delta @DeltaAssist This is unacceptable! Dr Stanford is an extraordinary physician! Preventing her from caring for someone in need, even after providing her credentials is an error with significant passenger safety implications. Do better! #bias #BlackWomeninMedicine #weexist https://t.co/fQmTA9g9dH— Hope T. Jackson (@htjacks) October 31, 2018
I have been asked what kind of doctor I am...but have never been asked to show my credentials. Dr @fstanfordmd you deserved better. All medical professionals who volunteer to care for others in flights deserve respect. Or else, go hire your own doctors @Delta— Uri Belkind (@DrUBelkind) November 5, 2018
The airline responded with an apology, claiming they have a zero tolerance policy towards discrimination. They also acknowledged Dr. Fatima's concerns and extended an apology to her via email. Is this too little, too late?