PHI 413V RS T3T5: Healing and Autonomy
In addition to the topic study materials, use the chart you completed and questions you answered in the Topic 3 about “Case Study: Healing and Autonomy” as the basis for your responses in this assignment.
Answer the following questions about a patient’s spiritual needs in light of the Christian worldview.
In 200-250 words, respond to the following: Should the physician allow Mike to continue making decisions that seem to him to be irrational and harmful to James, or would that mean a disrespect of a patient’s autonomy? Explain your rationale.
In 400-500 words, respond to the following: How ought the Christian think about sickness and health? How should a Christian think about medical intervention? What should Mike as a Christian do? How should he reason about trusting God and treating James in relation to what is truly honoring the principles of beneficence and nonmaleficence in James’s care?
In 200-250 words, respond to the following: How would a spiritual needs assessment help the physician assist Mike determine appropriate interventions for James and for his family or others involved in his care?
Remember to support your responses with the topic study materials.
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Healing and Autonomy
There are medical scenarios that are controversial, complex and challenging to resolve while at the same time striving to uphold the four major medical ethics principles, which are: beneficence, nonmaleficence, respect for autonomy, and justice. In such cases, different ethical decision-making concepts are required, such as principlism and the four-boxes approach. There are four topics introduced by the four-boxes approach, which aim to illustrate how the four major principles of principlism can be applied in resolving controversial and complex medical situations. These four topics include contextual features, quality of life, patient preference, and medical indications (Toh et al., 2018). In the case of James, the young patient, and his family; the physician should not allow his father Mike to continue making harmful and irrational decisions. The reason for this conclusion is an overwhelming amount of evidence against Mike, based on the four-boxes approach, which would justify the physician’s decision to take a more medical approach towards striving to heal James. While one of the topics in the four-boxes approach (patient preference) dictates that the patient’s autonomy should be respected; the other three topics do not favor Mike, but rather illuminate the physician’s sound judgment of practicing beneficence, nonmaleficence, fairness, and justice. Therefore, the physician would not be disrespecting the patient’s autonomy because; the magnitude of the medical situation allows him to take over the decision-making, for the sake of James’s wellbeing.
A Christian should view sickness and health as a characteristic of human existence and part of God’s divine plan in the universe that He created. Health is a blessing from God and part of a state known as Shalom, which means peace and order. Sickness, on the other hand, is a consequence of mankind’s disobedience to God in the Garden of Eden; when sin entered the world after Adam and Eve rejected the rule of God (Savarirajan & Fong, 2019). Therefore, sickness and health coexist together as part and parcel of a relational dynamic between mankind and God. It follows that mankind’s view of medical intervention should be positive because it is brought forth to serve God’s purposes and call. Medicine is meant to restore the previously severed union between God and mankind; and to restore the state of Shalom where peace, order, and mankind’s health abound (Kørup., et al). To add to this, according to the Christian narrative, God is the creator of everything, including medicine. Therefore, Christians should view medical intervention as a good thing because everything God created was perfect. Lastly, the people who practice medicine and offer much needed care to ailing patients were all created by God, which makes what they are doing good. Mike should therefore entrust his son’s health and wellbeing to qualified medical practitioners. Mike should pray to God and request Him to guide and enable the medical practitioners to restore his son’s health as best as they can given the current state of affairs. Due to the unfortunate deteriorated state of James’s health, Mike should ensure he follows all the professional advice from the medical practitioner by maintaining dialysis and getting a kidney transplant performed as soon as possible. Given that James’s brother is a tissue match, Mike should give the medical practitioners the go ahead to conduct the transplant so that they can save James’s life. Mike should reason that medical intervention is a good thing created by God. Likewise, medical practitioners are individuals created in God’s image. Therefore, as a Christian, Mike should place his trust in God and consider the medical practitioners as vessels that God uses to restore health to mankind. Mike should adopt this mindset because beneficence and nonmaleficence are in tandem with Christian values such as “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, and “love your neighbor as you love yourself”.
A spiritual needs assessment would help the physician assist Mike because it would offer general spiritual care by bringing understanding, compassion, listening, and presence to each encounter between Mike and the Physician. The physician would also be able to document Mike’s spiritual preferences, adequately support him through empathetic listening, and encourage him to incorporate some of his faith traditions into James’s treatment plan. The assessment would assist Mike determine appropriate interventions for James because he would be more aware of ways to fuse his spirituality and James’s medical care. To illustrate this, say for instance Mike discovers the importance of hope, empathy, and faith in choosing an intervention during a spiritual needs assessment. The intervention Mike chooses will be able to satisfy his spiritual needs, that is, having faith and hope in God’s plan and purpose for James’s life. Likewise, the intervention will be able to satisfy the needs of the medical practice because; with empathy comes beneficence and nonmaleficence. Lastly, James’s family and those taking care of him will be able to attain courage and acceptance during trying times such as dialysis, surgeries for the transplant, and recovery; when things get tough during James’s medical intervention.
Kørup, A., Søndergaard, J., Christensen, R., Nielsen, C., Lucchetti, G., & Ramakrishnan, P. et al. (2018). Religious Values in Clinical Practice are Here to Stay. Journal Of Religion And Health, 59(1), 188-194. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10943-018-0715-y
Savarirajan, D., & Fong, S. (2019). Bridging Bible and Biology: The Impact of Faith Integration on the Spiritual Growth of Students in Christian Higher Education. Journal Of Instructional Research, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.9743/jir.2019.1.1
Toh, H., Low, J., Lim, Z., Lim, Y., Siddiqui, S., & Tan, L. (2018). Jonsen’s Four Topics Approach as a Framework for Clinical Ethics Consultation. Asian Bioethics Review, 10(1), 37-51. https://doi.org/10.1007/s41649-018-0047-y