A white Maryland mother says she’s hurt after clinic workers assumed she and her adopted daughter weren’t family and forced her to provide documentation proving she was the girl’s mother.
Karen Dresser penned an angry letter to Patient First’s corporate office, alleging the urgent care clinic in Waldorf denied her 12-year-old daughter treatment because she is white and her daughter, Amelia, is Black, local station WJLA reported.
Dresser said workers asked for papers proving their relationship, which she thought was odd seeing as the two had visited the clinic “repeatedly over the past 12 years.”
“At first, I was just numb. I was in disbelief, actually,” she said. “We are a family in every sense of the word … and for somebody just to make the assumption that we weren’t is hurtful.”
Dresser detailed the Sept. 19 incident in a Facebook post, saying Amelia was injured and in pain from a jammed finger. Nurses at the facility asked if she was the girl’s guardian — not her mother — which Dresser confirmed she was. That’s when staffers said she’d have to go home and retrieve the required guardianship papers before they would agree to see her daughter, though she said a doctor took a quick look a the 12-year-old before sending them to Walgreens for a splint.
The “ticked” mother reached out in another Facebook post to see if any other mothers had been denied or asked to produce papers by the urgent care staff.
“And by the time I was home, I had lots of people saying, ‘No, never,’ Dresser said. “So, I know it was a color issue.”
Patient First addressed the incident in a statement, saying, “During registration, if a minor patient is accompanied by an adult who states that they are the patient’s parent, we take them at their word. If the adult states that they are the child’s guardian, we require documentation to confirm that before the patient can be registered.”
Dresser insists she told staff she was Amelia’s mother, adding that workers need to be better trained on how to handle these types of situations.
“I think people out there need to understand that families come in all shapes and sizes and that it’s important to respect all families,” she told WJLA.
Dresser said Patient First corporate apologized after receiving her letter.
“My daughter and I were treated with what can only be blatant racism …” she wrote.
Watch more in the clip below.