A Maryland mom is both angry and hurt after her daughter was denied treatment at an urgent care center.

Karen Dresser told WJLA she brought her 12-year-old daughter Amelia to Patient First clinic in Waldorf after she jammed her finger on September 19.

She was in a great deal of pain and needed to be seen immediately, but the clinic didn’t think the two were family because Dresser is white and her adopted daughter is African American.

According to Dresser, who spoke about her experience on Facebook, Patient First wouldn’t treat the 12-year-old without proper documentation. She needed to provide guardianship papers to prove she was Amelia’s mom.

She wrote:

We went to the desk to check in, they asked if I am her guardian. After I reply that I am they ask for guardianship papers.

I let them know that I don’t carry them with me …

They (clerk and her supervisor) told me I needed them for her to be seen.

Dresser says she was in “disbelief” because Amelia had been treated at the same clinic for the past 12 years without any issues.


She was stunned and upset when she had to prove that Amelia was her daughter.

The mom told WJLA:

“At first, I was just numb. I was in disbelief, actually.

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 explained that the workers need more training on how to handle these situations because families are diverse and can be made up of all races.

She hopes her unpleasant experience can educate others.

She says:

“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.”

Since the time of the incident, Dresser has written a letter to Patient First.

In response to the mom’s claims, the clinic released a statement to WJLA apologizing to Dresser for her experience, but said the workers were just following procedure.

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About the author

Tiffani is a writer for Dearly. She is from New York City. Prior to working for Dearly she covered fashion news and managed social media for various digital media outlets.

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