Healing and Autonomy
There exists a contradiction between spiritual faith and medical intervention, globally. The Holy Books of Christianity, for instance, have not offered the right direction on the illness intervention. It remains a hot topic whether Christians should follow their faith or seek medical treatment in case of illnesses. Healing and Autonomy case study offers a similar scenario where we have a prayerful father (Mike), sick son (James) and the doctor. Since James is too young, the debate of the intervention is left between his father and the doctor. This paper, therefore, seeks to analyze what Mike and the physician doctor should do to save James’ life.
From the Case Study, Should the Doctor Allow Mike to Go On With a Decision that Appears to Be Harmful to James?
In the case study, Mike is guided by his faith and belief that God will heal James. On the hand, the doctor believes in the power of treatment and understands the dangers that may occur in James’ health if not treated. In this case, the physician should not alter the decision of James’ parents to take the faith route on intervention. Any attempt to do so will be a disrespect to the patient's autonomy. According to the patient’s autonomy principle, patients have the right to make decisions concerning their health without the influence of physicians (Lindberg et al. 2014). At eight years, James cannot make a sound decision on his health. In this case, his choices are on the hands of his parents. If the parents opt for asking God to intervene with the health of their son, then the physician has to comply and offer the appropriate directives. Arguably, Mike is relating his decision with a past sermon and a real-life example of a person who was healed through faith. It is a decision that Mike believes will be the best for his son. Therefore, his decision has to be respected as he represents the autonomy of his young son, who cannot make a sound decision on himself.
How should Christians think about health and sickness?
Notably, God cares about both physical and spiritual life of His people. He created all human beings and is ever happy when we enjoy good health. However, sometimes people abuse their bodies, thus causing illnesses or some other times ailments are beyond human understanding. Christians should not attribute sickness to God under any circumstance. God wants all His people to have good health all the times so that they can serve Him better. Moreover, God does not promise to heal according to the Bible. However, he promises to save His people from all distress and pains of the world (Ferngren, 2014). In this context, sickness is one of the pains that human beings encounter, Christians should be assured of being delivered from it. Christians should always have their faith in God as the one who brings about good health to His people.
Christians’ Perception of Medical Intervention and What Mike Should Do
As mentioned earlier, the controversy surrounding Christianity and medical intervention have been widespread in the globe. Some opt to follow their faith to call for healing without consulting any medical expert. However, others mix the two and believe that each supplements the other (Carr, & Winslow, 2017). But how exactly should a Christian think about medical intervention? There are many instances in the Bible where medicine and physicians are mentioned. Revelation 22:2, for example, talks of the tree of healing in Jerusalem. This is a suggestion that medical treatment is included in God’s plan on His people. However, this is not a suggestion that cure should be sought from medical intervention alone. The fact is that God supports the life of His people through many physical services. These services include water, food, and sometimes medicine. Moreover, service to man is service to God. Therefore Christians should view medical intervention as one way that God uses to ensure good health to His people.
From the case study, Mike, as a Christian, should not entirely rule out the doctor's advice. Instead, he should allow his son to be treated and use his faith to ask God to intervene with the health of his son through the medical process. This is the best decision that a prayerful father should make towards his ailing son.
How Should James Reason about Treating James and Honoring God
On the dilemma of whether to trust God or treat James, Mike should have a very sound reasoning based on the principle of beneficence and nonmaleficence. The principle of beneficence demands him to promote good through his decision on James’ health (Tagin, Zhu, & Gunn, 2015). On the other side, the principle of nonmaleficence obligates him not to do any harm to James. In this case, Mike should first think of the possible dangers if James is not treated as prescribed by the doctor. In this context, he should reason whether failing to take James to treatment will further deteriorate his health or even cause death. Heath deterioration or death will mean that Mike has gone contrary to these principles. Therefore, Mike should think of combining the two ways of restoring the good health of his son and have faith that all shall be well.
Would a Spiritual Needs Assessment Help in Intervening With James’ Health Condition?
In searching for the right treatment measure to be taken on James' health condition, a spiritual needs assessment will significantly be of good help. It is through this assessment that both Mike and the doctor will understand the practices, religious beliefs, and the resources that may have a positive impact on James and the entire family. The assessment calls for physicians not to interfere with the faith and beliefs of their patients in the treatment process (Timmins & Caldeira, 2017). In our case, the spiritual needs assessment will make the physician understand that Mike is committed to God and wants to do everything to His will. With this knowledge, the doctor may advise Mike to direct his prayers on the treatment process. This would be the best solution rather than ruling out one intervention process since the two complements each other. The spiritual needs assessment also can save the kidney of James’ brother. Opting for treatment does not mean ruling out Mike’s faith in God. Therefore, after realizing that Mike was so prayerful through the assessment, the doctor may decide to give James time before the transplant. During this moment, Mike will be able to continue praying. If God's healing happens in the process, then James' brother will not have to donate his kidney. By so doing, everybody will have good health in the family.
In conclusion, all decisions concerning the health of a person should be aimed at promoting good. In this case, both spiritual and medical approach should not be ruled out in the treatment process. Doctors should understand the religious stand of a patient then strive to uphold that stand in the treatment process.
- Carr, M. F., & Winslow, G. R. (2017). From conceptual to concrete. In World Religions for Healthcare Professionals (pp. 31-45). Routledge.
- Ferngren, G. B. (2014). Medicine and religion: A historical introduction. JHU Press.
- Lindberg, C., Fagerström, C., Sivberg, B., & Willman, A. (2014). Concept analysis: patient autonomy in a caring context. Journal of advanced nursing, 70(10), 2208-2221.
- Tagin, M., Zhu, C., & Gunn, A. J. (2015). Beneficence and nonmaleficence in treating neonatal hypoxic-ischemic brain injury. Developmental neuroscience, 37(4-5), 305-310.
- Timmins, F., & Caldeira, S. (2017). Assessing the spiritual needs of patients. Nursing Standard (2014+), 31(29), 47.