WALDORF, MD (WJLA/CNN) - A white Maryland mother says she was hurt by the assumption she and her black daughter weren’t a family when she says the two went to a medical clinic that didn’t believe she was the child’s mother.
Karen Dresser says a Patient First urgent care clinic in Waldorf, MD, denied her 12-year-old adoptive daughter treatment because the mother is white and her daughter is black.
Dresser says workers at the clinic didn’t believe she was the girl’s mother, and they asked for papers to prove their relationship. She said the two had been to the clinic several times before.
"At first, I was just numb. I was in disbelief, actually,” Dresser 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 was so stunned she went to Facebook to see if any other mothers had been turned away or asked to produce guardianship papers during a visit to the clinic.
"And by the time I was home, I had lots of people saying, ‘No, never.’ So, I know it was a color issue,” she said.
Patient First released a statement following the incident.
"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,” read the statement in part.
Dresser says she insisted she was the 12-year-old’s mother and workers need to be better trained on how to handle these kinds 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 said.
Dresser says she received an apology from the clinic’s corporate office after writing them a letter.