Biomedical Ethics in the Christian Narrative
During its entire history, Christianity has sparked a great number of powerful arguments concerning the proper ways of dealing with different life occurrences. For instance, the issue of pain and suffering as well as death in addition to the best possible ways to defeat human diseases and frailty, from the Christian perspective, have elicited numerous debates in the contemporary society. Primarily, the Bible offers solutions to all aspects regarding life as well as gives direction on how to follow the way of God which means being free, just, and true. On the matters related to health and treatment, the Holy Scripture addresses the subject in an elegant manner hence offering solutions to Christians in the event of conflicting situations. Biblically, God created human beings in His own image and likeness as depicted in the Book of Genesis, chapter one, thus God is the giver of life. Since people are a reflection of God, it is clear that their life is sacred and awesome, hence it is not negotiable in whatsoever circumstances. Concerning medicine, at large, life in the natural form is the basis of medical concept. Since life is special and deserving the best care, human beings are assigned the liberty by God to make decisions concerning their life issues, some of which might, unfortunately, lead to negative consequences.
Under the Christian Narrative and Christian Vision, what Sorts of Issues Are most Pressing in this Case Study?
Basing on the case study, Mike and Joanne are struggling to come to terms with their son’s illness coupled with the ethical issues surrounding his possible treatment. Having witnessed their friend getting healed from paralysis through prayers, they are convinced that their son James can also be cured through prayers. In essence, Mike and Joanne firmly believe that only God can relieve James of his disease, and this forms the basis of their initial refusal to have James undergo temporary dialysis to curb the spread of A streptococcus infection. However, since the boy did not receive the healing leading to him developing serious kidney problem, his parents are remorseful hence decide to seek medical attention.
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Notably, Mike and Joanne still believe that God is the only one who can cure James to the extent that Mike contemplates that his son’s medical complication is a test of his faith. Therefore, the different challenges facing the family deal with faith healing and health care. With regards to the Christian perspective concerning health issues, ill people are capable of recovering from their diseases if only they pray and trust in God to cure them (Rae, 2009). In this light, faith is the foundation of healing. Therefore, Christians view recovery as redemption from suffering necessitated by God through Jesus Christ (Boniolo & Di Fiore, 2010). For instance, Jesus healed the ill who demonstrated strong belief in Him (Mark 6:56 New International Version). Basing on faith as the foundation of being cured, relying on medical treatment may be viewed as the lack of trust in God, hence at times Christians are faced with the dilemma of either seeking medical care or trusting God for healing power.
Apparently, the above is the scenario that is facing Mike and Joanne. Additionally, another pressing issue, in this case, is organ transplantation. Since current medical dilemmas did not exist at the time when the Bible was written, the Holy Scriptures may lack right solutions to such problems. Organ transplantation in particular is a result of modern technology, hence Christians may find it difficult to make choices concerning such issues.
Should the Physician Allow Mike to Continue Making Decisions that Seem to Him to Be Irrational and Harmful to James?
From the Christian perspective, life is important, therefore, it cannot be jeopardized in any situation. For example, the Bible forbids murder and lists life threatening injuries that are prohibited (Ex. 21:12-36). Furthermore, Saint Paul points out in Rom. 16:2 and 2 Cor. 6:1-2 that Christians ought to be treated with special care as well as they supposed to handle other people with care or wisdom according to the demands of the situation. In the light of the above, the physician should treat James in a special way in his best interest. Similarly, the doctor is expected to show compassion to the patient, as the Bible expects Christians to do, because the boy is ill and in need of specialized treatment. (Matt. 25:31-46). However, God gives freedom to individuals to do what they regard as being good in their own sense. For instance, in his letter to Philemon, Saint Paul points out that Philemon’s choice ought to be voluntary as opposed to forced (Philem. 1:14).
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However, all in all, Paul the Apostle is ultimately confident that Philemon would be obedient due to the realities involved (Philem. 1:21). Thus, in his quest to treat James, the physician should accord the patient and his family the liberty to choose what is best for them. Therefore, the doctor should allow Mike to make decisions regarding his son’s treatment but hope that he will obey and choose medical care, because James’ condition is serious and lack of immediate medical attention could be fatal.
Christian Narrative and the Issues of Treatment Refusal, Patient Autonomy, and Organ Donation
Since life is God-given, Christians are required to protect it at all costs. Following Jesus’ ministry when He raised people from the dead to the glory of God, Christians should also engage in the healing ministry. However, the Bible clearly outlines that if individuals refuse to do it, they should be left alone. This is demonstrated when Jesus sent out his disciples on a mission and instructed them to perform acts where they are welcomed and move away in case if their ministry is rejected (Lawrence, 2007). In general, the Bible does not support forced acts in whichever way. In this case, therefore, Mike has the freedom to choose the type of treatment he wants James to undergo, however, his decision should be thoughtful, because its consequences are critical and will be judged eventually. For example, if James’ medical condition deteriorates or he dies due to his father’s actions, then Mike will be morally accountable for that.
Concerning organ transplantation, the current medical problem can be solved using massive technological innovation implemented in this sphere. That is why Mike and Joanne should allow their son to undergo the kidney transplantation, because it is the only means left that can save the life of James. Even if the Bible does not directly address the issue of organ transplantation, it, however, acknowledges the fact that human beings are unique among other species on the earth. As revealed in Genesis, chapter one, God created people in His image and allowed them to live in the world He created (Shelly & Miller, 2006). Hence, human beings are empowered by God to solve their problems such as health complications. Similarly, Samuel should go ahead to donate the kidney to save James’ life which is in threatened by the disease. By donating the kidney, Samuel will show the act of love to his brother as commanded in by Saint Paul. Notably, Paul the Apostle encourages Christians in Gal. 6:10 and 1Cor. 16:14 to do their best to enable other people to experience as much good as possible.
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How Ought the Christians Think about Sickness and Health? What Should Mike as a Christian Do? How Should He Reason about Trusting God and Treating James?
In general, it is a Christian belief that suffering and death are inevitable occurrences in life. Despite the fact that Jesus is the Son of God, he suffered on the cross and died for the sake of humanity. That is why every Christian has faith that suffering can have a redemptive dimension, because it can draw individuals closer to Jesus who is their savior. Moreover, when coupled with determination, suffering can promote better life through medical arts (Courtwright, Romain, Robinson, & Krakauer, 2016). In the same fashion, Christians ought to trust in God for their illnesses to be healed. Notably, God cares for both physical and spiritual well-being of His people, and that is why He gave Jesus the power to cure diseases. In this analogy, Christians are called on to embrace current scientific and technological innovations and develop their biomedical application in order to curb unnecessary suffering while, at the same time, paying attention to the sanctity of human life. In the same fashion, Mike should give James a chance to undergo medical treatment in the hospital. Besides, the father ought to allow Samuel to donate his kidney and save James’ life through the transplantation he needs. On the issue of trust, the fact that Mike takes his son in the hospital does not mean that he does not believe in God. Moreover, he should consider continuing praying to God for the effective treatment of his son and successful transplantation, and has to trust Him, because doctors simply treat but healing is given by God.
Even though the Bible does not directly address current technological issues, it is important to note that it offers insight training in right living, and hence it equips Christians with willingness to perform good deeds. As portrayed by Saint Paul in 2 Tim. 3:16-17, the Holy Scripture gives clear directions as well as provides enduring solutions to specific problems. On matters related to health and faith, Christians should apply consciousness in whatever choices they make to avoid fatal consequences. When dealing with ethical challenges, they have to choose the best solution possible and avoid regrets in life. In this analogy, it is clear that end results may determine which deeds were right and which were wrong from the Christian perspective.