Religion beliefs in Healthcare case study
Mike is James’ father. He has a right to decide what is best for his son. In this context, Mike has been making the wrong decisions and James is now in very critical condition. This presents a situation of an ethical dilemma for the physician. The physician knows what should be done and has recommended it. However, James is seeing as another test of faith, the same reason as before which made James deteriorate. In this scenario, the physician should not allow Mike to make such irrational decisions fro James. Despite them being Christians, there is no problem with seeking appropriate medical care for treatable conditions (Swift, 2017). The decision by the physician would seem to be violating the ethical principle of autonomy. However, it would be upholding the ethical principle of beneficence as this would be for the good of James. Somebody has to do something right so that James gets better on time. Further delay would cost him his life. In this case, the physician is in the best position to talk to Mike to stop him from making decisions that may make him lose his son. Despite the respect for religion and religious beliefs and practice, it is almost clear that if Mike continues with his faith he will most definitely lose his son. Appropriate help would be the medical intervention that the physician recommended.
The Christian perception of health and illness varies from denomination to denomination. The baseline belief is that God heals. Despite this belief, Christians should remember that illnesses have causes that have been identified and can be treated. They should not cocoon themselves in their belief to the extent that it harms them. They should be able to understand that people fall sick at some point in their life. They should also understand that faith healing does not work for everyone as not everyone’s faith is strong or true enough to heal them. Christians should accept that sickness and health are part of life. They should express illness not as a curse, witchcraft, God’s punishment, or the devil’s doing, but rather as something people go through. In this way, people will not be obliged to behave religiously when they are ill when it does not benefit their health (Stevens, & Raferty, 2018).
As regards medical care, Christians should be open to it. They should support medical treatment because it works. They should visit healthcare facilities in case they are unwell to receive treatment. Medical treatment does not in any way undermine religion or religious beliefs. It helps them to restore good health for their good. They should advocate for medical treatment in churches and in other places they congregate. They should visit the sick in hospital even as they pray for their healing. Refusing beneficial medical care in the name of religion only worsens conditions that are easily manageable. Christians should consider thinking logically in medical situations that are conflicting with their beliefs (Timmins, & Caldeira, 2017). Saving life sometimes requires more than just faith. It requires that action is taken for a change to be seen.
Mike, as a Christian, should consider taking the medical advice that he is being offered. It is not wrong for him to seek medical advice because it has not been condemned anywhere in the Bible. Christians also seek medical attention when they need it. It does not undermine their faith in God. He should pray for his son and at the same time take action towards his healing. This includes considering his twin brother for a kidney donation. It might be a hard decision to make but if his son is to live, he has to make the difficult decision. He should accept that it is not a punishment or a test of faith. Instead, he should look at it as a medical problem that any other person could have gone through. He should be able to logically analyze the situation because that is the rational way to go about his situation. He will not be condemned or chased away from church for seeking medical healthcare. He would not have gone to the hospital if he wouldn’t have needed the help. Now that he came to the hospital, he should decide to continue with the medical care for his son and comply fully. He should remember that if his son lives, it is his testimony.
Mike should trust that God would heal James through the medical decisions he has to make. This would be upholding beneficence as an ethical principle. Doing the right thing is not usually easy especially when it seems to be conflicting with personal beliefs. In this case, Mike thinks that faith in God separates medical care which is not the case (Swift, 2017). The two can go hand in hand to help James recover. When it comes to non-maleficence, Mike has already betrayed this principle causing the deterioration of his son. This time he should try to do no harm the right way.
A spiritual needs assessment will go a long way in helping the physician (Stevens, & Raferty, 2018). He would need to find out the beliefs that James strongly believes in. He would also need to find out what other people involved in the care of Mike believe in. The basis of their beliefs is what the physician can manipulate to be in favor of the good care of Mike. People usually have strong beliefs related to their religion and religious practices. They sometimes fail to recognize that they irrationally put their beliefs in some things. In the end, the consequences of their beliefs become fatal to them. Doing a spiritual assessment will help the physician to help James and his family to understand what they need to do and why they need to do it.
Stevens, A., & Raferty, J. (2018). Health Care Needs Assessment: The Epidemiologically Based Needs Assessment Review. CRC Press.
Swift, C. (2017). Hospital chaplaincy in the twenty-first century: The crisis of spiritual care on the NHS. Routledge.
Timmins, F., & Caldeira, S. (2017). Assessing the spiritual needs of patients. Nursing Standard (2014+), 31(29), 47.