Delta Refuses To Believe Another Black Woman Is A Doctor

October 17, 2016  |  

Just last week, we reported the story of a Black woman who a Delta stewardess refused to believe was a doctor. And today, we learned that apparently Delta has a pattern of doubting the existence of Black women doctors.

This time it was Dr. Ashley Denmark. And like Dr. Cross’ from last week, her story, while perhaps less frustrating, is very similar.

Denmark was traveling from Hawaii to Texas. Not long into the trip, a flight attendant said a passenger needed medical assistance.

Denmark wrote about her experience on Melanin in Medicine.

As I settled in to watch a movie and read a book, about 1 hour into our flight over the intercom, a flight attendant requested a doctor or nurse to report to front of cabin to assist a passenger. When duty calls it calls- even if you are 30,000 feet in air. Without hesitation, I got out of my seat and made my way towards the front of the cabin where I was greeted by two Caucasian women and a delta flight attendant.

I quickly asked “What’s going on?” Then I stated, “I’m a doctor. How can I help?” Immediately, I was greeted by puzzled looks from all three women. The flight attendant asked, “Are you a doctor?” to which I replied “Yes.” My response only left a more puzzled look on the attendant’s face. She turned around and began to talk to another flight attendant. I stood there in bewilderment because someone on the plane was in need of medical assistance and no one was escorting me to the passenger in need.

Finally, one of the Caucasian passengers who came to assist spoke and stated her and the other passenger present to assist were both nurses. Then she asked, “Are you a doctor?” to which I responded “Yes” …..again. She immediately responded “Well you need credentials to show you are a medical professional.” I gave a funny look but, remained composed and quickly quipped “I have my hospital badge which should be enough.” At this time the flight attendant turned around to address us again.  She inquired from the two nurses what field of medicine in which they worked.

At this point, I had grown annoyed. I had been standing for four minutes and had yet to see the passenger needing medical assistance. I grew even more perplexed as time passed. Why was the flight attendant addressing the nurses if a doctor is present and able to assist a passenger in need of medical attention? I interrupted the flight attendant’s discussions with the two nurses and stated, “I have my hospital ID badge which shows I’m a physician.” The Delta flight attendant continued to look puzzled then stated, “We have two nurses here who came first. You can have seat now and we will let them handle it. If we need more help we will come and find you.” Wait a minute- stop the presses! What just happened?!?! I advised that I was a doctor who was licensed to provide medical care. Instead of being escorted to the passenger in need of help, I was directed to return to my seat and told that the two nurses could take care of the situation.

While Dr. Denmark decided to comply with the stewardesses and go back to her seat, without addressing the issue at hand, she wrote extensively about often being mistaken for anyone else but a doctor, even when she’s wearing her white coat.

Are you surprised to hear about this second story? What’s going on with Delta?

Veronica Wells is the culture editor at She is also the author of “Bettah Days.” You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter @VDubShrug.

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