Case #2: Establishing a Cancer Treatment Unit
You are the director of social work in a large urban community hospital located in a low-income area serving people from various
economic levels. You have been assigned to staff the planning committee charged with creating a plan for the future of the hospital.
You grew up in the community and have family and long-standing friends who reside there.You also have relationships with many
community human service administrators and staff members.
As the planning process proceeds, it becomes clear that most committee members favor the creation of a specialized cancer treatment
unit, which will gain status recognition for the hospital and also attract patients from throughout the state. But such a recommendation
will make it impossible to recommend improvements for emergency and ambulatory care that are desperately needed by the
neighborhood. A recommendation for a cancer treatment unit will change the nature of the available health care, who will get the
jobs, use of community space, kinds of housing which will be available, and so forth.
It becomes clear to you that the local community will gain very little and lose much if a cancer treatment unit is installed. You are torn
between loyalties to the hospital, to the community in general, to the social and human service agencies in the community, and to the
community’s population, including your friends and relatives who need a different type of service.