The news of Dr. Ben Danielson’s resignation as senior medical director for the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic amid allegations of racist mistreatment by Seattle Children’s hospital is a gut punch to me and my community. As a Ph.D. student in microbiology, I conducted my virology research at Seattle Children’s. The physicians encouraged me to attend the University of Washington School of Medicine. I did, and that launched my career.
I cared for adults while my colleague, Dr. Danielson, cared for children. I know Dr. Danielson as a physician of great skill, compassion and integrity. His intelligence, vision, commitment and leadership are in no small measure the reason for the growth, success and impact of Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic.
I know Seattle Children’s to be a revered institution that has historically given excellent medical care to all children. I also know that large institutions are composed of people, and some can be careless, biased, ignorant and racist. When identified, they must be held to account.
Seattle Children’s leadership will be well advised to hear the parents, children and indeed health professionals who trust Seattle Children’s hospital because they trust Dr. Danielson. We are listening, and we are watching.
John Vassall, M.D., Seattle