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Patient Spiritual Needs: Case Analysis

The principle of autonomy respects the patient’s rights to make an informed medical decision. However, this case falls under the Confucian society, where the head of the family decides for people under his care (Tai & Tsai, 2003). The physician should inform the parents about all possible measures and leave them to make their decision, even if it might seem irrational according to his professional expertise. As a Christian and head of the family, Mike is expected to ensure the physical and spiritual well-being of his children. Therefore, the patient’s autonomy should be respected because it is expected that Mike will act in the best interest of his son. Additionally, even if late, James’s parents decided to take enlist him for dialysis that was essential in stabilizing the kid. The parents have some time to consult widely and come up with the best option that would benefit James without putting Samuel at risk.

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The only time the physician might take over the power to make the decision is if Mike is considered incompetent or uncertain about what is best for the child. At this point, the physician would explain all the options and the choice he made for the child, making sure to list all the possible implications associated with the treatment method of choice (Tai & Tsai, 2003).

Christians Views on Sickness and Health

Christianity accepts suffering, be it sickness, pain, death, or disability as part of religious life (Porterfield, 2005). Christianity embraces suffering as part of something meaning intended to create redemption and believes healing is stimulated by having faith in a higher power. However, people hold different views on sickness and healing based on religious affiliation (Zollfrank et al., 2015). Some Christians feel a sickness is a form of punishment for the sins they committed, while others view sickness as a form of temptation or testing their faith (Porterfield, 2005). This phenomenon is evidenced in the case where Mike thought God was punishing him for not having enough faith. As a result, many Christians devote their life to seeking religious meaning and redemption when they are suffering. For instance, some dedicate their lives to caring for the sick people in a way that emulates Jesus’ healing ministry.

Medical interventions are essential for Christians. Medicine and Christianity are intertwined because there are cases where spirituality helps in creating positive expectations that stimulate relief from stress and increases natural processes of recovery, the placebo effect (Porterfield, 2005). Seeking medical intervention should not be taken as losing faith in God. Christians should take medical interventions as seeking help from qualified physicians the way they seek help from religious leaders when in conflict about their spirituality. Medical interventions could be combined with spirituality to help the Christians feel comfortable when making choices to visit doctors and physicians. For instance, Zollfrank et al. (2015) indicated patients’ confidence is boosted when they pray with the doctors.

Medical interventions are in many forms. For instance, a Craigie (2010) study indicated that people who emphasize nutrition and a healthy lifestyle are likely to live longer and healthy than their peers. Additionally, physical well-being, such as exercising, helps in reducing depression and boosts the quality of life (Craigie, 2010). Christianity offers group activities and creative stress relieving ways such as Bible reading groups, hiking, games, and singing, among others, that keep people engaged. Therefore, such activities keep people engaged and their bodies physically fit, thereby eliminating sedentary diseases. Further, engaging with other people helps in creating an outlet to talk with people about life issues, which helps in improving mental health and coping mechanisms.

Mike should act in the best interest of his son. The parents tried the Christian way of praying for James, which did not go as they had intended because James’ condition only got worse. The dialysis performed by the physician enabled James to become stable. Therefore, Mike should give the go-ahead for the physicians to conduct the kidney transplant on his son. Mike should also understand that God works through His people. The desire for the physicians to help James follows the foundation laid by Jesus to heal the sick and save humanity. The principle of nonmaleficence you should not harm intentionally. In this case, Mike understands the dangers he exposes James to by continually refusing to adhere to the physician’s advice. Consequently, he should selflessly allow the doctors to perform the organ transplant and uphold his faith in God. He should pray and fast, believing that James will heal.

Spiritual Assessment

Spiritual assessment allows medical practitioners to support patients spiritually or emotionally, especially when in a dilemma. Draper’s (2012) study described four different approaches used spiritual assessments, including generic, quantitative, qualitative, and domain-based. The most appropriate case that would help Mike is a generic approach. According to Draper (2012), the generic approach helps to recognize and acknowledge any spiritually based issues the person may have and identify resources to draw. A generic spiritual assessment approach would help Mike to identify needs and resources for coping and making the right decision. The physician should focus on issues such as spiritual beliefs he holds and things about James that make his life meaningful. The physician should also try to understand how beliefs held by Mike and his family influence his health-care decisions.

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It is also possible to use the assessment tool to explore the spiritual community that Mike belongs to and determine whether or not the group might support them spiritually and emotionally. The questions and answers enable the physician to address the specific issues and might suggest actions that would help in boosting the spiritual journey. Spirituality in health is important as it helps in enhancing the quality of life, decreased cases of stressed symptoms, improvement of relaxation programs and life satisfaction, increased mindfulness, finding joy in life, and improved coping mechanisms. All these qualities associated with spirituality help individuals to live a healthy and quality life. Therefore, spirituality should be emphasized in health care facilities as it helps people to be in peace with themselves and improves their quality of life.


Christianity influences the perception people have towards sickness and health, and seeking help from health professionals. Christians should learn to accept help from physicians and medical experts, especially when it is a matter of life and death, and there is a chance doctors can do something to help. On the other hand, physicians should maintain patient autonomy by offering professional guidance and allowing the patients to decide without manipulation or coercion. However, physicians should be firm when addressing patients with issues that might expose people to risks that could easily be controlled or prevented. More importantly, medicine should integrate with spirituality to help patients during the recovery journey.


Craigie, F. C. (2010). Positive spirituality in health care: Nine practical approaches to pursuing wholeness for clinicians, patients, and health care organizations. Hillcrest Publishing Group.

Draper, P. (2012). An integrative review of spiritual assessment: implications for nursing management. Journal of Nursing Management, 20(8), 970-980.

Porterfield, A. (2005). Healing in the History of Christianity. Oxford University Press.

Tai, M. C. T., & Tsai, T. P. (2003). Who makes the decision? Patient’s autonomy vs. paternalism in a Confucian society. Croatian medical journal, 44(5), 558-561. Web.

Zollfrank, A. A., Trevino, K. M., Cadge, W., Balboni, M. J., Thiel, M. M., Fitchett, G…. & Balboni, T. A. (2015). Teaching health care providers to provide spiritual care: a pilot study. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 18(5), 408-414.

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