Dr. Robert Barnett was driving his 2000 Jaguar convertible on Sept. 6 in Tracy when he swerved right and went under a tractor trailer. He was killed.
He was a graduate of University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and had practiced medicine for the last 31 years. He came to Kaiser Permanente at the Pleasanton medical offices in 1985, and moved to the Livermore medical offices in 2003 to lead the pediatric department.
"Dr. Barnett was not only a dedicated colleague and family man, but he was a beloved pediatrician and familiar face to so many in the Tri-Valley area," a statement by Kaiser Permanente said. "His presence and passion for healing will be missed."
(Read the full Kaiser Permanente statement here.)
“If anyone deserves recognition, it is Dr. Barnett,” says Robin Worth. “He was not only an excellent children's doctor, but also a kind, gentle, and caring man and person. We were and are still shocked and terribly saddened to hear of this tragedy that will undoubtedly affect many families' lives. In fact, I'm still pondering and trying to find the right time or words of how to explain this to our oldest daughter, who is of the age to know about this.”
The Worth family’s four children—Shawn and Lily, 8, Laurel, 4, and Carson, 20 months—had been Barnett’s patients for the last eight years.
“He was someone we came to rely on and trust for advice with our children and for support when needed just to know we were doing things right with them,” she says. “He will be sorely missed, irreplaceable, and never forgotten.”
Bonnie Gates' two boys, now 21 and 19 years old had known Barnett nearly all their lives.
"Dr. Barnett was one of the best kept secrets in Livermore!," says Bonnie Gates. "I used to tease him that I would never recommend him to anyone because he was already too popular and we selfishly wanted to keep him to ourselves. I have never known a more compassionate and gentle doctor."
Holly Barnes' first son was born at Kaiser Walnut Creek in 1998 with a congenital heart condition that required open-heart surgery.
“That surgery was performed at UCSF and we were able to bring him home 3 weeks later with an appointment already scheduled with Dr. Barnett," Barnes says. "At the time, we had no idea who Dr. Barnett was. He was simply the Kaiser pediatrician UCSF had recommended to us and so we went to see him. We were new parents who had been through a difficult, stressful time and who were bringing home a newborn still recovering from major surgery.
“Dr. Barnett was such a blessing in our lives,” she says. “He was kind, compassionate and encouraging. He was ever ready to answer questions and offer advice and he was always complimentary about our children. He had a way of making you feel like you were his most important patients. Our boys adored him.”
Sherry McKnight first met Dr. Barnett in August of 1986.
"He was the perfect antidote to sleep-deprived, worried parents, who just wanted to provide the best for their kids," McKnight says. "He spoke frequently and fondly of his own family, and we knew he understood our perspective.
"We won't dwell on Dr. Barnett's death,"McKnight says. "We'll remember all of his good work, his kind smile, and his thoughtful approach to pediatrics. My family is so thankful for his excellent care. We won't forget him."
Public services for Dr. Robert Barnett will take place Sunday, Sept. 22 at 2:30 p.m. at Crosswinds Church in Dublin, CA.
If you would like to send a card or message to the Pediatric Department or to Dr. Barnett's family, please send to Kaiser Permanente Administration Office at 3000 Las Positas Road, Livermore, CA 94551 and they will ensure that your message is delivered.
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