However much respect for autonomy is a recommendable aspect in providing patient-centered healthcare, the physician should not allow Mike to make decisions that in his opinion seem irrational. The ideology that patients should be allowed to make autonomous decisions about their most preferred health intervention is crucial. Respect for patient autonomy indisputably discourages instances of possible inappropriate paternalism and safeguards some patients from unnecessary interventions (Sedig, 2016). The viewpoint that supports that patients be granted the opportunity to make informed decisions also promotes attention to the patient’s or their family’s understanding and perception of healthcare interventions. it also facilitated the creation and development of patient decision aids that enhance autonomy (Sedig, 2016). However, it is clear from the case study that Mike had failed in proving that his thought of sorting out for a spiritual intervention for his son’s condition was a better idea than medical interventions.
Cases such as those portrayed by Mike, in this case, are the limiting factors to the idea that supports respect for patient autonomy. The strong association of decision-making and respect for autonomy with autonomous decision making leads to negligence of adverse implications (Sedig, 2016). Already, Mike had made a mistake by not allowing the physician to perform dialysis, which can be attributed to him (Mike) struggling to choose between healthcare intervention and the spiritual one because he lacked confidence in clinical care, a decision which he later blamed himself for and regretted making. Therefore, give the situation of the patient and the nature of Mike’s decision, it will be unhealthy for the patient to allow Mike to continue making the intervention decisions.
Even though all Christians view health and sickness and health as cats of God, different Christian groups hold different reasoning based on health and sickness. Some Christians view sickness as punishment from God as a result of their own sinful deeds or others to whom they are related, while others think that sickness is a test for their faith and their ability to seek God’s intervention in their life (“Christianity on Health and Illness”, 2019). For a greater percentage of Christians, health is a gift from God, and as a way of Him showing love for His creation (“Christianity on Health and Illness”, 2019). Mike, for instance, views James’ health condition as a test of his faith in God’s power to heal. Other Christians believe in the biological explanation of sickness and health, although they still think God has the power to control the body functions even in times of sickness as in health.
The choice made by a Christian relative to medical interventions relies on their view of sickness and health. Christians who believe that sickness is a way of God testing their faith in Him to heal their sickness should maintain their faith in God. However, they should focus on medical interventions as a way through which God is exerting His power to heal their health conditions and restore them. Mike seems to be a devoted Christian who believes that his son’s sickness is a test for the strength of his faith, but his initial spiritual intervention had led to negative results. Therefore, it would be a good idea if Christians like Mike accept medical interventions alongside withholding their faith by looking at the kidney transplant as a way of God showing His love for him and his son, rather than rely on a hypothetical miracle and comparing his son’s situation to that of a stroke patient.
Mike had already abused the principle of nonmaleficence by not allowing the physician to perform dialysis in the first place. Therefore, it would be ethically correct for Him to think of his actions to be considered trustworthy to God if he promoted the medical intervention rather than relying on a spiritual intervention that had already caused harm to his son. In that case, he would be promoting the principle beneficence, and at the same time conserving his faith in God.
Every patient and his family have a spiritual nature that needs to be taken into account while laying down the possible and beneficial health and religious interventions. Spiritual assessments have been tested to be a valid and reliable tool for identifying the spiritual needs of patients and their families (Timmins & Caldeira, 2017). Mike is undoubtedly a devoted Christian who believes in religious healing, however, his beliefs lack reliable evidence as his attempts to prove that yielded no good results. After he failed to prove that spiritual intervention would help him restore his son’s health condition, Mike seems to be undergoing spiritual distress. With the help of spiritual assessment, other spiritual needs apart from spiritual distress will be easier to identify and mitigate. Therefore, by spiritually assessing Mike, the physician will be able to notice the lacking features of Christianity to support an effective medical intervention that is both spiritually and medically appealing to Mike. However, the physician should be aware f his competence to undertake a successful spiritual assessment for he had already failed to convince Mike to allow him to put his son through dialysis, and sought out assistance from spiritual support personnel if necessary.
Christianity on Health and Illness. (2019). Retrieved 4 August 2019, from https://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/essays/christianity-on-health-and-illness
Sedig, L. (2016). What’s the Role of Autonomy in Patient- and Family-Centered Care When Patients and Family Members Don’t Agree?. AMA Journal Of Ethics, 18(1), 12-17. doi: 10.1001/journalofethics.2017.18.1.ecas2-1601
Timmins, F., & Caldeira, S. (2017). Assessing the spiritual needs of patients. Nursing Standard, 31(29), 47-53. doi: 10.7748/ns.2017.e10312
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