Christian teachings play a huge role in informing decision-making processes when one is exposed to some critical situations whose manner of addressing seems to compromise the person’s faith. However, it sounds imperative to crosscheck or weigh the options available, including the repercussions that a Christian may end up facing in case he or she decides to ignore professionals’ advice for the sake of defending his or her faith. As revealed in this paper, the situation of James who is critically ailing has exposed his Christian parents, Mike and Joanne, to an ethical dilemma whereby they are torn between following the physician’s directives or exercising their faith by letting God heal James through prayers without any other external intervention.
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Pertinent Issues from the Case Study
Under the Christian narrative and Christian vision, various issues seem pressing as presented in this case study. Firstly, the issue of faith is tested whereby James’ parents are convinced that God can restore their son’s situation. The Bible, which Mike and Joanne are accustomed to, present various scenarios where the application of faith produced tremendous results. For instance, the book of Mark Chapter 25 presents a case of a woman who had spent the better part of her life suffering from irrepressible hemorrhage. Arguably, the woman or her parents could not consider other interventions other than exercising their faith analogous to James’ parents. The faith strategy adopted by this woman was successful since it only took a touch of Jesus’ garments with the conviction that the move would restore her situation. Indeed, Jesus felt the touch and uttered the words, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering” (Mark 24:34 New International Version). Confirming the role of faith in bringing healing to people without doctors’ interventions, Baverstock and Finlay’s (2012) study emphasize the need for medical practitioners to inquire from patients or their families the approach that they deem appropriate in enhancing the healing of their loved ones, including testing the power of faith. In other words, James’ parents believed that acute glomerulonephritis and kidney failure would disappear through prayers and faith. Hence, the issue of faith is dominant in this case study.
Another pressing issue that is apparent in this case study is parental love whereby parents never wish to see their kids suffering. The Bible presents narratives that depict parents’ unconditional love for their children. For instance, the book of Luke Chapter 15 offers the best illustration of parental love. Although the prodigal son had defied his parents’ wishes when he was allocated his portion of the inheritance, he disappears too far and unknown places suffer considerably and decide to go back after a long time. One would expect his parents to cane him sternly when he returns. On the contrary, they celebrate and even dress him elegantly as one of their loved kids. James’ parents do not wish to see their son exposed to painful medical procedures such as dialysis or even surgical operations to replace his malfunctioning kidney. The only way they plan to adopt is a leap of faith whereby James may be healed without any form of suffering.
Mike’s Irrational Decisions and the Physician’s Role
From the case study, the issue of whether the physician should allow Mike to continue making illogical decisions that impair James’ well-being is worth examining. Firstly, it is crucial to question the role of doctors in bringing healing, including whether their interventions are in line with Christian teachings that James’ parents rely on. Besides, it is imperative to gauge whether Mike and Joanne are the best-placed people to advise the physician on what should be done to their son. According to the book of Luke Chapter 5 and the 31st verse, the Bible clarifies the need for ailing people seeking the services of medical practitioners. In other words, the Bible regards doctors as special people who use the gifts given to them by God to restore health to the sick.
In fact, according to Goozee (2013), the skills bestowed to medical practitioners are exceptional since this class of people brings critical patients back to their normal health at a time when ordinary people do not see any possibility of survival for the ailing patients. In the context of the case study, James’s parents should allow the physician to prescribe the best procedures to their son. They need to appreciate that the doctor’s intervention is in line with their Christian teachings. From another perspective, it is vital for James’ parents to realize that the medical practitioner is an expert in his field and that he is best placed to control James’ situation. Hence, the issue of Mike being allowed to make unsound decisions concerning the way forward for James should be prohibited. The doctor should take charge by letting Mike heed to his (doctor) directions for the best interest of the ailing patient.
Treatment Refusal, Patient Autonomy, and Organ Donation
Concerning Christian narratives and the context of this case, the issue of treatment refusal should be reprimanded. It is illogical for a Christian to argue that the sick should not seek the interventions of qualified doctors. As earlier mentioned, Christian faithful who embrace this school of thought should be penalized for ignoring the teachings of the very Bible they uphold. If the same Bible declares Jesus a “Great Physician” (Exodus 15:26) who traversed many regions restoring health to the sick, it sounds intriguing to find some of His followers spreading contrary teachings. Another issue that is worth analyzing in this case study is patient autonomy. According to Ringstad (2016), patients have the right to state the way forward concerning their health without being coerced by any external agents such as their family members or doctors. However, it is crucial to point out that such autonomy is only granted when the patient’s level of sickness allows him or her to make a rational decision. Does patient autonomy exclude the doctor’s input concerning what needs to be done to restore health? Although Ringstad’s (2016) study points to the need for embracing patients’ autonomy, the article clarifies that some of the decisions may be detrimental to their health.
Hence, doctors should be given a chance to weigh the decisions made by patients against the impact they pose to their overall health. This study fits the context of the current case whereby James may be allowed to make a decision that matches their parents’ wish of allowing faith to take its course. However, as revealed in the case whereby overlooking the need for dialysis resulted in worsening James’ health condition, contrary to the doctor’s prescription, it suffices to embrace patients’ autonomy only when the decision made serves the best interest concerning their health. Organ donation is another issue that has attracted a heated debate concerning the underlying ethics. However, from the Christian narrative, it sounds imperative to emphasize Jesus’ teachings concerning the need to do what is right when it comes to restoring people’s lives (James 4:17). The Bible in this verse declares it a sin when one ignores this message. According to Wellman (2015), cases of blood donations have been reported everywhere around the globe where people turn out in large numbers to save the lives of others who are in critical condition. This gesture may be viewed to be in line with Jesus’ teachings. Therefore, James’ parents are expected to comply when the doctor suggests the need for having Samuel, James’ brother, donate one kidney to save the life of his brother.
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Conclusion: Christians’ View of Sickness and Health and Mike’s Reasoning
In conclusion, the case study reveals the need for Christians to demonstrate rational thinking when it comes to addressing the sickness and health of their loved ones. In this respect, they need to realize that God has bestowed different powers to people for them to help one another in their diverse needs. Hence, as a Christian, James’ father, Mike, should let the physician exercise his God-given gift to restore health to his son. Otherwise, ignoring the physician’s prescriptions only serves to worsen James’ health condition, despite his move to trust God for the healing of his son. On the issue concerning trusting God and treating James, Mike should reason that even doctors are God-fearing and that they rely on divine powers when carrying out their work. God has instilled this power in doctors for them to intervene in situations such as what James is going through. Hence, Mike should view the physician as God’s vessel that is meant to bring peace not only to him but also to his son through enhancing his (son) healing.
Baverstock, A., & Finlay, F. (2012). Faith healing in pediatrics: What do we know about its relevance to clinical practice? Child: Care, Health & Development, 38(3), 316-320.
Goozee, R. (2013). Smart medicine: How the changing role of doctors will revolutionize health care. Journal of Mental Health, 22(6), 580-582.
Ringstad, Ø. (2016). Patient autonomy in a digitalized world: Supporting patients’ autonomous choice. Croatian Medical Journal, 57(1), 80-82.
Wellman, J. (2015). Is organ donation a sin? Should Christians donate their organs? Web.