Critical Thinking

 

15. Ethically sound decision making requires critical thinking. (see text and slide # 12 of Ethics in Social Work ppt on Module 3). Read the following case study and answer the question that follows.

The social worker was called to the emergency department of a medical center. A two year old was being examined for respiratory distress caused from bronchitis. The parents were Vietnamese and spoke little English. The physician was concerned because of red marks the size of quarters on the child’s back. Based on this finding, the worker decided that the child should be placed in foster care pending an investigation. Before this action was taken, however, the social work supervisor was consulted. Upon closer observation, the supervisor noted that the child was well nourished and seemed to have a healthy attachment to both parents who handled the child in a nurturing, affectionate manner. She sat down with the parents and communicated through gestures and limited conversation that she was interested in their story about the child’s condition. Meanwhile, she sent for a Vietnamese interpreter who was able to translate that the quarter sized marks on the child’s back resulted from folk treatment in which metal (quarters in this case) were warmed and applied to the back of the person with a bad cough, helping to loosen the phlegm in the person’s chest. The result was a first degree burn like that of a mild sunburn.

Question: Name the five aspects of critical thinking that were missing in the decision-making process of the first social worker who made the assessment of child abuse. Include a brief description of each as it applies to the case study.