Case Study: Healing and Autonomy













Case Study: Healing and Autonomy


The Christians believe that God is the creator of heaven and earth and that he has the authority to control everything. The belief forces Christians to adhere to the teachings of the Bible with the view that the Holy Book provides guidance in all aspects of life. Christian believers tend to use the biblical teachings to judge or approach ethical issues as it comes out in the case involving Mike and Joanne and their son James who is suffering from multiple health problems. Mike, James’ father, does not see the need of taking his son through a medical process with the view that the God heals and will intervene in this case. Unfortunately, his son’s condition continues to become worse which requires the application of more complex pharmacologic therapies. Mike must apply the principles of bioethics which will guide him in making a decision that would not deviate from Christian teachings while seeking James’ treatment.

The Most Pressing Issue in the Case Study

The case study presents several pressing issues based on the Christian narrative and the Christian vision. One of the prominent problems is that Mike’s son is critically ill and the parent has to choose between taking his offspring to the hospital or to wait for God’s healing. The physician suggests that the couple allows their son to undergo a dialysis process but they prove to be adamant following their witnessing of a person who regained his mobility after being prayed over at a sermon that was presided over by a mighty man of God.  Mike feels that as a Christian, his faith in God is enough to cure his son. Mike adheres to the teachings of the Bible which is that God has the power to heal and that nothing is beyond him. Furthermore, Mike tends to comply with the principle of autonomy which is one of the significant guides in bioethics. He feels that as an autonomous person, he has the freedom to make the choice that he feels is right and that no one can dispute his decision.

Christians expect God to intervene whenever believers call on him, but that does not seem to be the case in Mike’s instance who feels that his tribulations are as a result of temptations by Satan. The parent questions his faith and even thinks that his conviction to God is not strong. It is normal for Christians to develop worries when their aspirations from God might not be working by their expectations. A Christian would tend to gain confidence from the biblical teaching that one should not lose hope, and may even rely on the teaching that the world is full of temptations as a result of the fall by Adam and Eve (Class Lecture, n.a). Mike, however, seems to change his perception after witnessing that his son’s condition is becoming worse. He opts to seek the physician’s assistance while still holding to the principle of autonomy which gives every sane person the ability to make decisions that they find suitable for them.

Deciding on whether the Physician should allow Mike to continue making his Decisions

One can view the debate on whether the physician should enable Mike to continue making his decisions even if they have adverse effects on the young one from two perspectives. First, it is possible to consider the perception of the principle of autonomy which gives every free person the power to make decisions that they feel is right for them. Mike thinks that he is the child’s parent and that he has the authority to make decisions which he feels are right for his son. Regrettably, Mike’s choice might not be what James wants because he is the one who feels the pain. James’ inability to make a choice that he desires because of his young age forms the basis of the criticisms that come from scholars such as Engelhardt and Feinberg who feel that one’s freedom to choose their wish might deny others the chance to practice what they desire (Lawrence, 2007). The point by the critics of the principle of autonomy is evident in the provision of healthcare where patients in critical states or who are younger might have to cope with the decisions of others even they not suit their wants. Therefore, even though the physician may decide to let Mike make his decision based on the principle of autonomy, it is significant to understand the effects that may come with making choices that have a direct impact on other people who are not in the position to make the decision.

Apart from viewing the case from the autonomous perspective, it is possible to argue the case from the non-maleficence principle which asserts that people should not engage in any actions that may cause harm to others. The bioethics concept which is also applied by many Christians may compel the physician to urge Mike to let his son go through the medication process. The healthcare giver may let the parent know that delaying the intervention process only worsens James’ condition which is not only against the facet of principalism but also against God’s desire to see his people suffering. The physician’s argument while relying on the guidelines of non-maleficence will let Mike and Joanne view medicine as an avenue sent by God to help people stay healthy and strong.

Analyzing the Case based on the Emerging Issues

Based on the teachings of the Christian narrative and the description of the issues of treatment denial, organ donation, and patient autonomy that emerge in the topic readings, one might argue that it is important to consider medical attention if the procedure adheres to the principles of bioethics. The case begins with Mike taking a firm position against pharmacologic intervention arguing that his faith in God will heal his son. Even though Mike relies on the autonomy while making his decision, he realizes that medical intervention might be the solution to his son’s child. Mike’s decision to seek therapeutic intervention and even going ahead to search for the person who might donate a kidney to James does not go out of Christianity which supports practices that adhere to bioethical guidelines.  The switch does not only reiterate the application of non-maleficence but also shows the use of the principle of beneficence that calls on people to prevent any possible harms and to give services or care that has benefits.

How Christians ought to View Sickness and Health

The lecture teachings and the topic readings provide information which encourages Christians to view medicine as a suitable solution to sickness and health, primarily when the intervention process adheres to the principles of bioethics. The article by Lawrence (2007) informs readers including all Christians that principalism categorizes healthcare to be a fundamental resource that every person should access regardless of their socioeconomic position. The principle of justice outlines that health is every person’s right and the practices ought to adhere to the set laws and regulations. The class lectures also present Christians as people who would wish to be in a stable health as God created them. It does it occur in the teachings that God nor Jesus spoke against medical intervention which should be reason enough why Christians should seek medication when they are sick to remain healthy. Mike, therefore, should not let his faith in God stop from allowing James undergo the medication that may save his life.

How Mike should Reason

Mike needs to be reasonable when it comes to putting his trust in God and treating James. The Christian should understand that the Bible does not come out openly to warn against seeking medical intervention. It might be controversial when Mike holds to some of the ideologies that guide principalism while disregarding others. For example, it would be wrong for Mike to believe that he has the authority to make decisions that others cannot dispute as autonomy stipulates but to disregard the facet of justice that advocates for equal distribution of health resources. Mike’s only worry should be whether the medication process will adhere to the bioethics rules that define how the service delivery should happen.


Mike while seeking the best intervention for his ailing son must consider the guidelines of principalism that will help him arrive at the best solution. He should not let his belief in God deter him from seeking medical involvement in restoring his son’s health. His prime consideration should be whether the pharmacological procedures stick to the four guidelines of principalism.

















Class Lecture. (n.a). Biomedical ethics in the Christian narrative.

Grand Canyon University. (2015). Case study: Healing and autonomy. Phoenix: Grand Canyon University Press.

Lawrence, D. (2007). The four principles of biomedical ethics: A foundation for current bioethical debate. Journal of Chiropractic Humanities, 14, 34-40.

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