Case Study- Healing and Autonomy
In most circumstances, believers encounter multiple dilemmas that come with their lives as they do their day to day activities. These dilemmas may be moral, spiritual and religious that linger in their minds thus putting them on a crossroad that eventually turns to force them to make difficult decisions which in one way or the other conflicts with personal wills. For the Christian believers, such moments are overridden by their strong faith in God which can be associated with teachings from the holy bible that reiterates the need to be hopeful and get less concerned with the tough situations as God is always in control (Schleiermacher, 2016). They are always required to have belief in the Almighty in such trying moments instead.
By having the spiritual beliefs and following them to the later, it turns to be difficult in applying spirituality in the diverse life situations such as the physical aspect that entail injury or illnesses, hunger, and other body requirements. For one to hand the situation at hand, there is the need of being smart that will see the balancing of both physical aspect and the spiritual concerns (Tomkins et al., 2015). In the case study, Mike and Joanne are caught up is a situation that multiple values ought to be taken into account for an amicable solution to the situation and have a successful outcome. The couple takes the direction of spirituality to seek solution towards James’ kidney problem and to disregard the medical aspect which they later return to look for. This article dwells on the analysis and evaluation of the moves by Mike and Joanne and relating them to ethics and at the same time shading light about the Christian narratives.
Issues that are most pressing in the case study
The logical expectation is that every Christian possesses a strong faith in God which all the instances ought to guide them in the activities unto which they undertake. The faith that is exhibited by individuals is the critical issue in this case study which prompts its critical analysis. Firstly, the position of sole dependence is vital when it comes to the Christian principle of belief in God. As depicted from the case study, Mike and Joanne decide to object the medical intervention accorded to them and resolved to belief in God for hope and healing of their son. The second matter pertains the struggling that encounter Mike in making decisions and his faith when he makes up his mind to believe in the sermon heard in the church thus giving room for healing and miracle to occur and avert the situation of James. By the fact that the option never worked for them, the couple returns to medical assistance which they had earlier ignored.
In addition to the above issues, there is evidence of moral dilemma that faces Mike at the end where the situation is even much complex requiring wise actions from the parents (Herring, 2014). The dilemma originates at the point where James kidney is extensively damaged and can no longer function normally even with the dialysis sessions hence proposal of a kidney transplant. Irrespective of the offer by either parents or the well-wishers to donate their kidneys, it emerges that the best match can only be obtained from James brother Solomon thus another difficult situation to go through. The chronology of events puts Mike into further confusion and dilemma as he feels that they have even a bigger challenge which needs greater miracles and Gods intervention compared to the initial cases. In spite of these feelings, Mike is sensitive to avoid reoccurrence of the previous mistake where the medical intervention was disregarded and the consequences being worse. Apparently, the three issues are the substantial and worth focus while considering biomedical ethics.
Physician allowing Mike to continue making decisions that seem to him to be irrational and harmful to James
The physician plays a critical role in showing professionalism thus ought not to give room for more harmful decisions by either sitting back and watching or allowing the parents to exercise autonomy. By taking the professional stand, the physician will not give Mike an opportunity to make a decision that can harm James. In so doing, the physician implementation takes care of his or her obligation of protecting the lives of all the patients they serve by intervening in situations that threaten the existence of patients lives. In consideration of the above actions, Goetghebeur et al., (2015) claims that the physician puts into practice the deontology aspect of thinking in guiding him or her in attaining the moral responsibilities via professional practice. Such engagements make the physical to meet the criteria set for consideration of being moral. Similarly, the physical works in line with the professional obligation to oppose the decisions that Mike have as they are costly to the couple.
The physician also needs to bypass the autonomy that Mike has as the parent for James thus avoiding the sit and watch situation which amounts to negligence instead of respecting the rights of the patient. Negligence comes in that the physician understands the aspect exhibited by Mike and need to lead them through counseling and offer them the right direction of ensuring the James get the needed Kidney transplant (Herlihy et al., 2014). Also, the physician needs to explain to the parents the issues surrounding organ transplant and lead them towards making reasonable and rational decisions.
Analysis of Christian narrative and the discussion of the issues of treatment refusal, patient autonomy, and organ donation
In analyzing the case study, the three issues—organ donation, patient autonomy, and treatment refusal need to indicate whether the decisions are right or wrong clearly. The treatment refusal is related to having faith in God which is supposed to provide healing to James with the family feeling that all they need is strong belief. In considering religion, Jesus himself demonstrated the potentiality of being healed out of firm faith in God. Irrespective of this demonstration, Christians need not use this aspect to prevent them from seeking medical intervention that is in line with the natural law of ethics. The law reiterates that nature always has its course and such course ought to be left to run freely. In ideal cases, the seeking of medical intervention while also considering the spiritual aspect yield better outcome. On the other hand, the divine command theory opposes the natural law of ethics as it values the medical treatment based on the value it adds to the body (Shafer-Landau, 2014). Putting this theory into consideration, refusal of treatment by Mike because of faith is wrong as it impairs the health patient.
Mike displays patient autonomy when he decides that James does not undergo dialysis and will get healed by divine intervention. He has the power to make decisions as a parent towards the care of James who is eight years old and can’t give consent for care. The transferred autonomy, however, goes against the non-maleficence principle. It also goes against the theory of utilitarianism that requires the benefits to outdo the drawbacks (Goetghebeur et al., 2015). These aspects indicate the wrong decisions taken by Mike in assisting James.
The proposal of organ transplant also puts Mike in another situation of a dilemma since the best match for the kidney can only be obtained from James’ brother, Samuel. When engulfed with this reality, he opts for even stronger faith compared to the one he applied on the earlier situation. Mike, however, is keen not to repeat the previous mistake of disregarding medical intervention. In settling the case, both theories of deontology, as well as utilitarianism, can be applied to put preservation of life on the forefront (Goetghebeur et al., 2015). This consideration ought to resolve in organ transplantation which Mike needs to give an option.
About the faith in God and matters of healing and sickness, different believers have various views. These views are strengthened by multiple theories and Christian principles that the individuals hold. Examples of theories that Christians are likely to use are the divine command theory and natural law theory. To get into Mike’s decision, it is critical to venture into the two theories.
The divine command theory considers medical intervention to be a gift from above thus advocating for its use. Shafer-Landau (2014) eludes that everything that is working towards life betterment is in line with the will of God who requires humans to preserve life. The theory allows for intervention from the medical team in the facilitation of good health. It also values the spiritual aspect hence calls for both medical intervention and medical facilitation in handling ill health.
On the contrary, the natural law of ethics claims that nature has its unique ways through which things happen. According to the theory, the occurrences have natural solutions for its problems, and there is no need of human assistance saves for a strong belief in God (Shafer-Landau,2014). In this instance, the theory is against influence to natural remedies such as medical interventions, use of family planning to control population and other contentious issues such as organ transplant and donation. The theory advocates for faith in God and letting the occurrences in the surrounding to get a natural remedy.
It is vivid that Mike inclined to the natural law of ethics by only having staunch faith in God. The consequences of such move, however, were not friendly at all. It led to events such as kidney damage that required transplant which is advanced management compared to the initial need for dialysis.
As a Christian, Mike had the chance of turning tables in the whole matter. He would have done this by considering that everything comes from God including the physicians that are used to accomplish the divine intentions. In so doing, he would have accepted medical intervention while at the same time praying to God to assist in the healing of their son. Besides, he would have been guided by the utilitarianism theory to weigh the benefits of treatment and disadvantages that are involved as alluded by Goetghebeur et al., (2015). Had the decisions affected by the two aspects, James would have had a resolution to the acute damage to his kidney whose solution has been dialysis without progressing to renal failure that prompts kidney transplant.
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