The physician should not allow Mike to continue making the decisions on behalf of James because he is endangering his life. There is a conflict between the principle of beneficence and respect for the patient’s autonomy. Beneficence dictates that doctors have the moral responsibility to act for the benefit of their patients and provide the best care. On the other hand, respect for autonomy holds that patients (or in this case, guardians of a patient) have the right to make informed decisions on their healthcare. However, in pediatric cases, doctors can override parental choices that harm their children (Macklin, 2003). Mike’s decision to deny the much-needed dialysis to his son resulted in the deterioration of his son’s health. Although parents have the right to make informed decisions on the healthcare of their children, physicians have the responsibility to intervene in cases where these choices constitute medical neglect. Therefore, Mike should not be allowed to continue making decisions for his son’s care because they are harmful and life-threatening.
Some Christians think of health as a blessing from God for good deeds and sickness as a punishment for errant behavior or a test of faith. However, such views can have negative consequences on patients or their families. For instance, it can cause patients to refuse medical care as they believe that healing comes from God, rather than through medical intervention (Cherry, 2019). Instead, Christians should view health and sickness as independent from the concept of blessings and curses. Christians should seek medical intervention when they fall sick. In Matthew 9:12, Jesus said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.” This gives Christians a clear directive to go to medical professions when they are sick. Additionally, since God’s will is usually manifested through the actions of other people, seeking medical intervention allows God’s will to be done through the doctors.
Mike should allow James to receive a kidney transplant from Samuel. He should allow medical intervention aimed at saving his son’s life. According to Christianity, God put human beings on earth and gave them provisions required to sustain life. Mike should view medical intervention as making use of a God-given intervention. If Mike decides to allow doctors to give James a transplant, he will be honoring the principles of beneficence and nonmaleficence (Min, 2018). He honors beneficence by letting James receive the care that he needs. He will be acting in a manner that benefits his son, which upholds the Bible’s teachings to Christians to be kind and benevolent. Additionally, this action will uphold the principle of nonmaleficence which dictates that people should do no harm. By allowing his son to receive the care needed, he will save his life and reduce any pain he might have. Part of Jesus’ doctrine was to help, not to hurt, those who sought his help. Therefore, by upholding beneficence and nonmaleficence, Mike will be acting according to Biblical teachings.
A spiritual needs assessment helps physicians to provide the best course of treatment for a patient that are in line with their beliefs. It is essential for a doctor to understand the religious views of a patient before they embark on treatment. This enables the physician to provide wholesome care that integrates medical and spiritual aspects (Finlay, 2019). In this case, understanding Mike’s spiritual principles enables the physician recommend the best course of treatment within his religious doctrine. For example, by conducting a spiritual needs assessment, the doctor can frame the need for medical intervention within the context of Mike’s religion. Failure to carry out this evaluation can lead to a mismatch between what the patient wants and what the doctor recommends. In the end, this can result in a negative outcome for the patients as their doctor fails to understand their needs. A spiritual needs assessment is a useful tool for bridging the gap between medical care and religious beliefs.
Cherry, M. J. (2019). Bioethics without God: The transformation of medicine within a fully secular culture. Christian Bioethics, 25(1), 1-16. Web.
Finlay, I. G. (2019). Ethical principles in end-of-life care. Medicine, 48(1), 61-63.
Macklin, R. (2003). Applying the four principles. Journal of medical ethics, 29(5), 275-280.
Min, M. T. K. (2018).Principlism and neonatology: Utilising the principles of medical ethics in decision-making for neonates. Journal of Clinical and Health Sciences, 3(2), 5-12