African American doctor was questioned on her medical license because of her race.

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Doctor questioned if she is an actual doctor

November 5, 2018

On Tuesday, October 30, 2018, there was a plane going from Indianapolis to Boston in which a passenger became distressed and a doctor sitting nearby jumped in to help. 

While she was trying to help, she was questioned by the flight attendants.  One can’t help but wonder if it was because of the doctor being female or because she is African American.

On a recent Delta flight from Indianapolis to Boston, there was a situation with a passenger. Luckily, Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford was sitting next to this distressed passenger and took action. Dr. Stanford began doing what she had been trained to do after having more than a decade of experience being a doctor. Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford is a doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital and is also an instructor at Harvard Medical School.

As soon as Dr. Stanford began trying to help the passenger, she was questioned. A flight attendant came up to her and asked if she was a doctor. Stanford answered yes and without hesitation or the need to be asked, she took out a wallet-sized copy of her medical license. The flight attendant walked away from Stanford, however then another attendant came up to Stanford questioning her and asked to see her license and then walked away as well. Both of the flight attendants returned and began questioning Stanford together, including questions such as “Are you actually an M.D.?” and “Is this your license?”. Stanford responded with another question asking why would she be carrying around someone else’s license.

Dr. Stanford started carrying around a small version of her medical license in 2016. Back in 2016, she read about how another doctor, Dr. Cross who was also African American, was asked to show their credentials when they tried helping a sick passenger. Dr. Stanford also talked about how doctors of different skin colors are treated differently during an interview. She talked about how when you google a doctor, pictures of white men show up or how some of her colleagues of different color have been mistaken for support staff or asked to clean up messes in the ER.

Delta later apologized for the event on Thursday. They have said that the two flight attendants were from a Delta Connection partner and therefore were not caught up to the new standards that Delta put in place in 2016. The situation seems to be resolved to some sort; however, Dr. Cross stated in an interview that she believes that this will be a lifelong battle for people of different skin colors.

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