Biomedical Ethics Healing and Autonomy

BiomedicalEthics: Healing and Autonomy

Biomedicalethics seek to clarify situations that are roped with a cultural,traditional and religious dilemma. A significant number of patientsthat require medical services find it difficult to differentiatebetween faith and medical attention. Christianity is built on theprinciples of faith and belief, and patients go ahead to seek healingservices to either test or affirm their faith (Bible Hub, 2016). Thispaper presents a case study titled Healing and Autonomy, where theparents of a patient are forced to make a decision that may testtheir faith in God. Mike and Joanne have twins, and one of themrequires an immediate kidney transplant. The dilemma occurs whetherMike should sacrifice the kidney of one son to save his other son.The situation is primarily based on faith since Mike is a believerand his belief relies on the fact that his son James will get well byconstant hope and deep faith.

MostPressing Issues – Christian Faith and Vision

Thefirst issue that surfaces in the case study is that of having faithin God. Faith in Christianity is built on the premise that allbelievers should have a positive thinking about stressful situations,and they should maintain an active belief that things will turn outwell regardless of human intervention. The concept of faith isrepeated in selected cases in the bible. For instance, Jesus told ablind man ‘Wake up and walk, your faith has made you well.’(Bible Hub, 2016). Faith is also stressed in the verse, ‘even faithcan move mountains.` This concept tests trust and reliance to amighty power and forever, Christians are encouraged to use faith atevery stage of their lives. In the case study Healing and Autonomy,faith is a pressing issue according to Mike since he is religiouslyobligated to believe the situation will turn out well withoutworrying about acute glomerulonephritis or kidney failure.

Underthe Christian narrative, healing is a critical action to patientsthat demand immediate medical attention. Christianity is built on theprinciple of healing, and most churches and Christian set-ups willhave healing sessions to communities, the society, and members of thecongregation. It is evident that a friend of James attained mobilityafter prayers at a healing service. Healing is an issue because Mikehas not yet sought to have James being prayed for by his pastor.Nonetheless, he is worried that his son’s situation may worsen whenthey rely on outside intervention other than immediate medication.The issue of healing resurfaces in many instances of the Christianlife. Albeit pastors do not deny members of the congregation to seekhealthcare services, they encourage Christians to attend healingsessions. The situation facing James is due to kidney failure andaccording to the case study James cannot heal without a kidney, noteven with prayers. The above situation presents an issue according tothe Christian doctrine.

PhysicianIntervention – Should Physician Allow Mike to Continue Making‘Harmful’ Decisions?

Itis the personal duty of the practitioners to ensure the patient doesnot succumb to illness due to unwise decisions by the parents. The8-year old is in a critical situation due to loss of the kidney. Adialysis has to be performed before James health condition becomesfatal. From an opinion, the clinicians should intervene by puttingthe 8-year old under medication as they wait for Mike to seekspiritual help. The nurse should have faith that his medication willimprove the situation even as the father aims to build confidence inthe course of the illness. Denying James dialysis or even atransplant on the basis that faith will work, or even the pastor willconduct a healing prayer makes matters worse. It is, thus, theresponsibility of the physician to leverage the necessaryintervention and to ensure that James condition is under control. Asmuch as possible, the practitioner should make professionalconsultations ensure the patient receives the appropriate drugs, andhe is kept under safe conditions, and that the decisions of parentsdo not affect his health and well-being.

ChristianNarrative – Organ Donation and Patient Autonomy

Christianitydoes not require believers to have blind faith. Blind faith manifestsitself in situations where individuals expect things to turn into acertain direction without a critical consideration of logic. There isthe need to apply a stable pattern of thought and to weigh situationswith reason. As much as God calls his children to have faith in himand to trust that everything will turn out well, he advocates forpersonal reason and logic. As the bible quotes, ‘Many people willperish due to lack of information.’(Hosea 4:6). Information enablesindividuals to understand situations it develops their knowledge,and improves their logic and reason.’ The book of Sirach Chapter31:18 quotes, ‘The sensible will not neglect any fear detersdirection, the proud and insolent.’ (Coggins, 2012 Sirach 31:18).The same book quotes, ‘Make friends with the doctor, for he ishelpful to you. God has also established the nurse in hisprofession.’ (Coggins, 2012 Sirach 38:1). This analysis supportsthat as much as God calls his children to develop unshakable faithand belief, he does not call them to disregard those of help to them.God’s works are revealed in the works of other people – and inthe case study, the Lord may use the care provider to exemplify hisgrace and mercy. The physician is experienced in the field ofdialysis, and he has seen how patients have performed in the past. Itis also evident that the area of medicine has established thepractice of dialysis as the most appropriate to patients like James.It, therefore, goes without question that delaying James dialysisequals to killing him and denying him a critical aspect of life. Thisanalysis believes that faith and healing should not override medicalattention in the case study. Rather, both Mike and his pastor shouldkeep James in prayers throughout the medication and to trust that Godwill exemplify his works of grace throughout the treatment period.

TrustingGod and Treating James

Inthe case study, it is recorded that James condition stabilized afterregular dialysis (Grand Canyon University, 2015). Mike regrettedhaving denied his son some medical attention because he sought torely on his faith that everything would turn out positively. In thesecond scenario of the case study, it is clear that Mike is facedwith another dilemma should he sacrifice Samuel’s kidney to saveanother son? The physician advises that the tissue that matchesJames` kidney belongs with his brother Samuel (Grand CanyonUniversity, 2015). It is the mature supposition that a compromise hasto be established to improve the situation at hand. Presently, Jamessituation has improved due to regular dialysis. Nevertheless, hewould require a kidney transplant within a period of one year. From apersonal analysis and critical thought, Mike should makeconsultations with the nephrologist determine the health risk thatSamuel will face after donating the kidney. If a kidney transplantwill not endanger Samuel’s life, it is appropriate to undertake thepractice and to rescue James from acute glomerulonephritis. On thecontrary, it would be important to engage Samuel, to inform him ofthe situation facing his twin brother, and to inform him of how hisassistance would mean to his brother’s life. The parents, Mike andJoanne, should engage their son Samuel to ensure he intervenesthrough the donation of the kidney.

Biblicalaccounts are not explicit or even succinct about organ donations. Oneaccount, however, records that we should love our neighbors as welove ourselves (Broadhead, 2011 Mark 12:31). Neighbors are describedas individuals who are in dire need of our services and help.Christianity holds that Jesus lost his life to rescue people fromsins, and his blood was used as a tradeoff with the sins of humanity.James situation does not deviate significantly from biblicalaccounts. From my opinion, there is nothing wrong with assisting inJames recovery by donating the kidney. Samuel help to his brother isa step that tests his love, generosity, belief and faith. Moreclearly, by helping his brother, he will champion one of the idealprinciples of Christian faith. The parents, however, play a criticalrole to ensure the transfer is necessary – they also stand topractice one of the most sacred practices that affirm their faith asChristians.


BibleHub. (2016). Hosea4:6.The Bible Hub Official. Retrieved from

Broadhead,E. K. (2011). Mark.Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press.

Coggins,R. J. (2012). Sirach.Sheffield: Sheffield Acad. Press.

GrandCanyon University. (2015). The Case Study: Healing and Autonomy.