Biomedical Ethics in the Christian Narrative Case Study
Biomedical Ethics in the Christian Narrative Case Study
Ethics are moral principles that determine a person’s behavior in certain activities (Meilaender, 2013). Biomedical ethics are moral principles that govern healthcare professionals while performing their duties in health care facilities where else Christian narratives are how Christians view the world and issues (Meilaender, 2013). In this case study of Healing and Autonomy, Mike and Joanne have a son who requires immediate medical attention but they are torn between following the healthcare’s directive and relying on God to do a miracle.
Mike and Joanne are Christians who believe in exercising faith in times of problems but this has led to a more complex issue in this situation. James’ health has deteriorated after Mike ignored the physician’s advice of immediate dialysis. Mike and Joanne’s contradicting views between moral ethics and Christian morals bring a complex decision making situation. Choosing between spirituality and decisions based on physical dimensions of life is quite challenging but individuals can learn to bring a balance between the two aspects (Meilaender, 2013).

Pressing Issues
Christians believe in God who is a supernatural being with powers to answer complex situations including healing the sick even from chronic incurable illnesses (Bishop, 2014). Based on this knowledge, Mike and Joanne were right to take James to a faith healing service as they had also witnessed a patient regain mobility after a serious stroke after she had been prayed over at the service. Mike and Joanne had hope that their son would be healed from the kidney disease. Their Christian faith is their basis for making decisions although they are in a dilemma in making an ethical and moral decision relating to their son’s treatment process and due to this, their son’s health has deteriorated.

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Physicians Perspective
The main objective of a physician is to have a positive patient outcome (Bishop, 2014). In this case, James is the patient and what will bring a positive outcome should be considered first. Since Mike and Joanne tried their spiritual faith, which did not bring any positive impact to the heath of James but instead his health deteriorated, they should also consider other medical solutions available as long as they will improve the health status of James. It is not a bad thing for Mike and Joanne to put their trust on God, but spiritual beliefs can be used in together with other medical solutions to address the problem and Mike and Joanne can still pray for James while he is still at the hospital receiving treatment (Bishop, 2014).

Christian Narrative
Treatment refusal
A person should not refuse medical treatment since health facilities are after the well-being of patients and their objectives are for patients to get well (Rusthoven ; Bartholomew, 2014). Past information has shown sick individuals getting treatment in heath facilities and being healed. God has also provided healthcare professional with the knowledge to provide treatment services to patients after which they are healed and are discharged (Rusthoven ; Bartholomew, 2014). During this time, relatives and close people can still support their patients spiritually while in hospital, as faith is what matters and not the location of the patient (Rusthoven ; Bartholomew, 2014).

Patient autonomy
The healthcare professional respected the decision of Mike and Joanne to take James to a faith healing service although James’ health got worse. James’ nephrologist even called Mike and Joanne to a private meeting to help them make an informed decision about James’ health status. Patient autonomy allows healthcare professionals to help and influence their decisions for a better patient outcome (Rusthoven & Bartholomew, 2014). Although Christians have a strong faith in God, they should also consider advice from healthcare professionals as they are also after the well-being of the patient. Healthcare professionals should also support patients’ spiritual wise and not discourage them (Rusthoven ; Bartholomew, 2014). Mike and Joanne skipped dialysis and opted to take James to a faith healing service. The healthcare professional should have educated them on the importance of dialysis and that medical treatments can be used concurrently with spiritual faith, which would have positively impacted James’ health (Rusthoven & Bartholomew, 2014).

Organ Donation
Due to technology advancement, it is now possible for an organ to be transplanted to a patient. All these advancements in healthcare are to improve patient outcomes and not to cause any harm (Wadell, 2016). Christians believe in the high value of life and any strategies to save life should be encouraged. The bible, which is the word of God, encourages Christians to love one another and this act can be expressed by donation of organs to people who are in need of the organ (Wadell, 2016). This is seen when Mike and Joanne offered one of their kidneys though they were not compatible. Close friends and church members also came to the rescue and offered to donate a kidney to James although none of them was tissue matches. There is nothing wrong with organ transplant but a sign of love, which is the main principle in Christianity as Jesus who is God’s son, died for the sake of the sinners because of the love he had for us (John 3:16, New King James Version).
Sickness and Health
Christians should have a proper attitude towards sickness and health. It is normal for people to get sick and use the available methods to get treatment. This may involve faith and medical services (Wadell, 2016). God has given us the power of knowledge to solve many problems and together with spiritual belief, Christians are able to overcome some of the physical and medical problems (Wadell, 2016). Jesus feeding hungry people through a miracle can be seen as an example of God’s provision and although God did provide food for them, this problem could also be addressed if people had worked and planted enough food plants in their farms (Wadell, 2016).

God has given us knowledge to solve most problems and this includes medical procedures to solve some of the body ailments and diseases. Medications have been proved to heal most of the ailments and diseases people suffer from. Based on this, Christians can use both science and spiritual beliefs to attain the same outcome, which is being healed and getting the fullness of health (Wadell, 2016).

Mike’s Reaction
What should Mike do as a Christian?
Since there is an available medical solution at the health facility which is a kidney transplant, Mike should use the available option while still trusting in God (Meilaender, 2013). Mike should also be patient while still trusting on God and control his feelings and emotions even though he is facing a sad reality. Mike should know that God brings good out all situations including the negative ones and that his grace is sufficient even in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). God gives us strength to overcome any trial (Philippians 4:13).

How should Mike reason about trusting God and treating James?
As a Christian, Mike should still trust God because he is a faithful God and everything happens for a reason for those who love and trust in him (Romans 8:28). God gave Mike a son who is James to take care of him at all times and its during this time that James needs his family more and his father should take the necessary steps to ensure James gets treatment for his condition. Mike should continue loving James as his son and support him in any way possible. Mike can use the provided medical procedures to ensure that James gets treatment (Meilaender, 2013).

Moral ethics and Christian narratives are both important in the healthcare service delivery and can be used collaboratively to improve positive patient outcomes (Bishop, 2014). Patients should understand that healthcare professionals have a role and a responsibility to ensure that patients receive the best medical care and get well from illnesses. Healthcare professionals too have an advantage of experience and can give helpful advice to patients regarding their health being (Bishop, 2014). Patients and relatives of patients like the case of Mike and Joanne should try to understand the circumstances of their patients and any immediate solutions should be considered as long as they will increase the chances of a successful outcome. Healthcare professional should also understand the aspect of spirituality in their profession and how it can be incorporated in the treatment process (Bishop, 2014).

Bishop, J. P. (2014). Christian Morality in a Post-Christian Medical System. Journal of Christian bioethics: Non-Ecumenical Studies in Medical Morality 20(3), 319–329.

Meilaender, G. (2013). Bioethics: A primer for Christians. Grand Rapids, Mich: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

Rusthoven, J., ; Bartholomew, C. G. (2014). Covenantal biomedical ethics for contemporary medicine: An alternative to principles-based ethics. Eugene, Oregon: Pickwick Publications.

Shelp, E. E. (2011). Secular bioethics in theological perspective. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

Wadell, P. J. (2016). Happiness and the Christian moral life: An introduction to Christian ethics. Lanham : Rowman ; Littlefield.


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