Oh, doctor, I don't speak Jive.
October 26, 2016 5:27 PM   Subscribe

 
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.

I saw this on facebook it's just so infuriating... what year are these people living in? Why hasn't any media reached out to ask them what's going through their minds when they act this way?
posted by bleep at 5:50 PM on October 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


This makes me want to throw things and scream.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 5:53 PM on October 26, 2016 [6 favorites]


Hooolyyy shit. That last one!

All of these stories are so similar. "I'm a doctor." "No, we need a real doctor. Like these male nurses! Take a seat."
posted by meemzi at 5:58 PM on October 26, 2016 [6 favorites]


It is so fucking infuriating. I'm a lawyer. I wish I could tell you how many times someone has asked me what I do and when they hear "I'm a lawyer," they reply "Really? You don't look like a lawyer." But I can't, because I've lost count.
posted by HotToddy at 6:20 PM on October 26, 2016 [1 favorite]


But people tried to hire me when I showed up to court in a suit as a 1st year law student. It's ridiculous and terrible.
posted by 1adam12 at 7:20 PM on October 26, 2016 [6 favorites]


Absolutely disgusting. WTF, Humanity?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:27 PM on October 26, 2016


meanwhile i've been on a quest the last few years to swap out all my older white male doctors for female poc doctors and the quality of my medical care has increased substantially.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:11 PM on October 26, 2016 [52 favorites]


Amazingly, the old joke about the doctor (if you are of a certain age, you know what I mean) being a female confounded everyone. Not so much, anymore, in most countries. Lots of female doctors. More than male doctors, actually, in some countries. But the racial prejudice is a little harder to break. This post details--heartbreakingly--what happens on the ground. I mean in the air, as per this article.
posted by kozad at 8:39 PM on October 26, 2016 [5 favorites]


...swap out all my older white male doctors for female poc doctors...

I'd subscribe to that newsletter.
posted by Evilspork at 8:47 PM on October 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


This is infuriating. Beyond infuriating.
posted by fshgrl at 9:00 PM on October 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


A man and his son are on the way to a baseball game, when the car gets stuck on the railroad tracks. A train comes, and the father is killed. The boy survives, but is badly hurt. He's taken to the hospital and rushed into the operating room, where the doctor takes one look at him and says, "I can't operate on this boy; he's my son." How is this possible?

Sorry to ruin this riddle by posting it here, but it seemed too good to skip. I've gotten some interesting answers over the years - e.g., it's apparently easier to believe in reincarnation, than in female doctors. And a child suggested recently that the doctor was the boy's other dad. We've come far in some areas, not so much in others.
posted by anshuman at 9:15 PM on October 26, 2016 [27 favorites]


Anshuman, I once asked that riddle to a group of 6-7 year olds and they didn't even have to think about the answer, they just immediately shouted out "It's the mom!!!!"
posted by picklenickle at 9:24 PM on October 26, 2016 [38 favorites]


I feel sick. And I'd take any of those doctors (DOCTORS!!!) over the racist arseholes treating them like that. FFS, imagine if someone died because someone wouldn't let a doctor help them.
posted by kitten magic at 9:52 PM on October 26, 2016


anshuman, My niece knows the answer to that one, she had two daddies.
posted by Megafly at 11:22 PM on October 26, 2016 [4 favorites]


I know this infuriates me more than other stories of casual racism and sexism because people's goddamned lives are on the line, but I still feel icky for my reaction being more angry than sad.

Is there really some epidemic of people identifying themselves as doctors on planes who really aren't? What could possibly be going through someone's head second guessing someone who identifies themselves as a doctor in an emergency? I can understand asking anyone "are you a doctor" if they haven't specifically identified as such, (it's still ultra shitty if they aren't asking white dudes the same question, but they damn well should be in the interest of knowing whether further requests for assistance are necessary) but once they respond in the affirmative get the fuck out of the way no matter what they look like!

The only time I want anyone asking more than that if I'm the one having the emergency is if there are like 20 doctors on the plane and then I want the doctors figuring out amongst themselves who is best qualified to treat whatever my actual problem is once it's been identified. The crew has absolutely no reasonable input to give on that point. They aren't freaking qualified. (And are often apparently much less qualified than I previously thought before learning that they sometimes ignore female/PoC doctors in favor of having nurses try to treat someone having an on board emergency alone when there is also a doctor available)
posted by wierdo at 11:40 PM on October 26, 2016 [2 favorites]


It's a shame they don't name the airlines in these stories.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 12:57 AM on October 27, 2016 [4 favorites]


I had a severe attack of hypoglycemia on a plane once. I used all of the glucose gel in my purse, and my blood glucose level wasn't coming up like it should. Extra fruit juice from the flight attendant eventually brought it up, but I'm dismayed in retrospect to think that if something had gone wrong I might have been kept away from someone who could help due to someone else's (unconscious) bias.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:48 AM on October 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


meanwhile i've been on a quest the last few years to swap out all my older white male doctors for female poc doctors and the quality of my medical care has increased substantially.

A female doctor of color performed my c-section and she was FANTASTIC! I was up and walking around the next day and able to resume all my normal non-sex activities pretty much immediately. She was good enough that I had the energy and ability to bake her a thank-you cake and write a nice note within a week of getting home from the hospital. The fact that I was very mobile and able to pick up the baby and walk around and be a really active part of caring for her made our family's early days SO much better and I will always be immensely grateful to the doctor for that.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 5:56 AM on October 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


It's a shame they don't name the airlines in these stories.

Unfortunately, I suspect the answer is "All of them".
posted by skye.dancer at 6:20 AM on October 27, 2016 [8 favorites]


Ugh people are the worst.

My father is a nurse, he hasn't ever mentioned being needed on a flight but I will be sure to talk to him about this issue so that just in case there is a medical emergency and something like this happens, he can be aware of it and support the doctor in question. It sucks but apparently him being a white dude will get the flight attendants to stop being assholes.
posted by LizBoBiz at 6:59 AM on October 27, 2016


> meanwhile i've been on a quest the last few years to swap out all my older white male doctors for female poc doctors and the quality of my medical care has increased substantially.

I did this too, years ago. My dentist is a white man (who is so lovely that I actually look forward to seeing him) but the rest of my regular physicians are women of color.

Last year I got sick with some sort of strep-like thing; my regular physician wasn't available but the practice runs it's own mini urgent-care option for walk-ins. I'll never use it again. I got a young white male physician who was pretty much the living stereotype: dismissive, condescending, distrustful, argumentative.
posted by desuetude at 7:07 AM on October 27, 2016


Which reminds me of another joke:

Q: What do you call a black person examining a patient with a stethoscope?

A:

(dramatic pause)

<outraged>A doctor, you racist!</outraged>

(The original version was “...flying a plane” and “a pilot”)
posted by acb at 7:21 AM on October 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


But what is the patient doing with the stethoscope?
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 7:28 AM on October 27, 2016 [9 favorites]


What the fuck.
posted by Automocar at 8:47 AM on October 27, 2016


Clearly I am the only doctor to happily crack open the mini bottle of wine and go back to my film when this happened to me then...

(The cabin crew preferred a nurse over a senior medical registrar, because I could not produce my degree certificate and malpractice insurance for them - silly me, I don't take those on holiday with me. Since we did not divert, I assume it was nothing serious).

Anecdotally these calls always sound intensely frustrating anyway - there is no equipment, no medications, and the cabin crew ignore you in favour of their ground medical team, who refuse to speak to you directly and instead go by the cabin crew's wildly inaccurate description of the patient.

I do respond when a call goes out (and have attended people in the street plenty of times), but am more than happy that nobody has ever wanted my help on a plane to date. Honestly if it is sexism, I would see that as yet another perk of being female.
posted by tinkletown at 9:53 AM on October 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


(I should point out that people who have been asked to help out on a plane tell me that the number one presenting complaint is "drunkenness", followed by "scared of flying" and "travel-sick" in joint second place. None of which need an MBBS. If I thought patients were dying, I might be more exercised by it).
posted by tinkletown at 10:19 AM on October 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


In regard to the stories coming from women of color, Yasiin Bey (FKA Mos Def) has an excellent rhyme that applies from the song "Mr [N-word]" off his debut solo album Black on Both Sides:

[White people] say they want you successful
But then they make it stressful
You start keeping pace
They start changing up the tempo


Guarantee that if these women had responded to these affronts to their dignity with the same rage some people do when their drinks aren't refilled fast enough by the flight attendant, they would have been treated as security issues.
posted by lord_wolf at 10:30 AM on October 27, 2016 [5 favorites]


This had me in tears.

I think I'm just going to start posting Jalliah's election comment in every thread in which people act like fucking idiots:

YOU ARE SO BAD AT THIS
posted by medusa at 10:55 AM on October 27, 2016


> Honestly if it is sexism, I would see that as yet another perk of being female.

If it's sexism?

You think it's a perk to be disbelieved and insulted?
posted by desuetude at 11:03 AM on October 27, 2016 [6 favorites]


This had me in tears too -- and I'm a male POC non-doctor. Both of my parents and most of my immediate aunts (3) and uncles (2) are doctors who practiced as doctors here in the US (I used to say when I was growing up that a typical big family event at our house was the safest place to be -- there would always be at least 7 doctors in attendance). I don't recall any of them ever talking about this kind of experience this when they were practicing, but I'm sure it must have happened. There's also the wrinkle of our specific ethnic background; Filipinos (particularly Filipino women) are often associated with nursing rather than doctors (an association I of course never had growing up, but that I've since perceived as an adult). I have always been proud that my grandparents on both sides were insistent that their female children be highly educated professionals, and I know that my mom and aunts were proud of this too. The thought that they have had these experiences is incredibly upsetting to me.
posted by odin53 at 1:33 PM on October 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


Whether it's fun (or even not-annoying) to assist in an emergency on a flight is really not germane to the discussion. Women and POC are questioned in medicine constantly, and these examples only serve to show how pervasive it is because these are situations where they were often literally the only physician available for hours and miles. Like, sick people trapped in a metal tube hurtling through the sky would rather be treated by a white RN than a female POC who is a physician. Being on a plane or being a flight attendant doesn't make you especially discriminatory, but it does draw attention to how deeply discriminatory you probably are all the time.

I'm a woman and a medical student and get mistaken for a nurse or nursing student virtually every day. I'm lucky when it's by a patient or patient's family member; less often, but enough, it's by a colleague or a supervisor.
posted by telegraph at 1:49 PM on October 27, 2016 [6 favorites]


This post has prepared me to speak out pointedly if I should observe it happening, hopefully not as the patient. And I will be pointed, as I have practiced my outrage well. I am ready. Thank you.
posted by BentFranklin at 8:07 AM on October 28, 2016 [5 favorites]


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