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A Maryland clinic recently denied treatment to a woman’s adoptive daughter because she was a different race than her guardian.

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Employees at Patient First urgent care clinic in Waldorf refused to believe that the woman, who is white, was the legal parent of the 12-year-old child, who is Black, the mother said. They assumed that the two weren’t a family and actually asked for documents as proof of the guardianship, according to Karen Dresser, who took her daughter to the clinic. The employees’ skepticism and the unauthorized request has been very disappointing for Dresser, who reiterated that she was the child’s mother.

“At first, I was just numb. I was in disbelief, actually,” Dresser said to WTOL, a CBS affiliate. “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’s words go to show that families can be made up of all races and what counts is the love shared between people. Her message struck a chord with many who responded to her story on Facebook. The responses led Dresser to believe that the clinic’s mistreatment was motivated by skin color, she said.

The mother also touched on how the unpleasant experience may have been avoided if employees were better trained on how to handle these kinds of situations. She has since written a letter to the Patient First clinic and received an apology from them. The clinic also offered a statement explaining their policy to check documentation if an adult says he or she is a legal guardian of a child.

Dresser has made it clear that she feels Patient First didn’t, well, put the patient first. It’s unclear whether Dresser will return back to the clinic in the future.


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