Case Study Essay example on Biomedical Ethics in the Christian Narrative

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Case Study on Biomedical Ethics in the Christian Narrative Essay example

The Case Study: Healing and Autonomy

Mike and Joanne are the parents of James and Samuel, identical twins born 8 years ago. James is currently suffering from acute glomerulonephritis and kidney failure. James was originally brought into the hospital for complications associated with a strep throat infection. The spread of the A streptococcus infection led to the subsequent kidney failure.

James’s condition was acute enough to warrant immediate treatment. Usually, cases of acute glomerulonephritis caused by strep infection tend to improve on their own or with an antibiotic. Case Study on Biomedical Ethics in the Christian Narrative Essay examples. However, James also had elevated blood pressure and enough fluid buildup that required temporary dialysis to relieve.

The attending physician suggested immediate dialysis. After some time of discussion with Joanne, Mike informs the physician that they are going to forego the dialysis and place their faith in God. Mike and Joanne had been moved by a sermon their pastor had given a week ago, and also had witnessed a close friend regain mobility when she was prayed over at a healing service after a serious stroke.

They thought it more prudent to take James immediately to a faith healing service instead of putting James through multiple rounds of dialysis. Yet, Mike and Joanne agreed to return to the hospital after the faith healing services later in the week, and in hopes that James would be healed by then. Case Study on Biomedical Ethics in the Christian Narrative Essay examples.

Two days later the family returned and was forced to place James on dialysis, as his condition had deteriorated. Mike felt perplexed and tormented by his decision to not treat James earlier. Had he not enough faith? Was God punishing him or James? To make matters worse, James’s kidneys had deteriorated such that his dialysis was now not a temporary matter and was in need of a kidney transplant.

Crushed and desperate, Mike and Joanne immediately offered to donate one of their own kidneys to James, but they were not compatible donors. Over the next few weeks, amidst daily rounds of dialysis, some of their close friends and church members also offered to donate a kidney to James. However, none of them were tissue matches.

James’s nephrologist called to schedule a private appointment with Mike and Joanne. James was stable, given regular dialysis, but would require a kidney transplant within the year. Given the desperate situation, the nephrologist informed Mike and Joanne of a donor that was an ideal tissue match, but as of yet had not been considered—James’s brother Samuel.

Mike vacillates and struggles to decide whether he should have his other son Samuel lose a kidney or perhaps wait for God to do a miracle this time around. Perhaps this is where the real testing of his faith will come in? Mike reasons, “This time around it is a matter of life and death. What could require greater faith than that?”


Case Study Essay example on Biomedical Ethics in the Christian Narrative

The Case Study Solution

The Bible emphasizes the importance of having faith in God. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding,” says Proverbs 3:5-6 (New Living Translation). “Submit to him in all your ways, and he will make your paths straight.” “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles,” says Psalm 34:17-18 (New Living Translation). The Lord comforts the bereaved and delivers those who are crushed in spirit.”

As a result, Christians, guided by the Bible Case Study on Biomedical Ethics in the Christian Narrative Essay examples, maintain a firm faith in God even in the face of adversity. This case study demonstrates how Christians turn to their faith in God when faced with difficult decisions involving morality, principles, or spirituality.

Similarly, God instructs Christians to use wisdom – Proverbs 4:6-7 (New Living Translation), “Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” Mike and Joanne’s ethical and moral responsibility in the case study of their child’s health is to apply both faith and wisdom.

Christian principles are not one-sided and do not apply to everyone. Mike and Joanne must strike a balance between their spiritual and moral values in order to make the best medical decision for their son. Mike and Joanne’s case study demonstrates a clear distinction between Christian faith and moral principles when it comes to medical treatment for their son James.

Christian Vision and Narrative

It is a common misconception that believing in God makes one blind. In fact, faith in God is based on a free-will decision based on the information available. The Bible provides Christians with ample evidence of followers choosing to believe in God. “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps,” says Psalms 16:9 (English Standard Version).

Due to “acute kidney failure” and “elevated blood pressure,” the doctor informed Mike and Joanne that James needed dialysis right away. Without a doubt, James chose to deny his son dialysis treatments in order to put his faith in God, as encouraged by their pastor’s sermon on faith and healing a week before.

Mike and Joanne, on the other hand, promised to return after another “faith healing service” a week later. Mike chose faith despite the fact that he knew James’ condition would deteriorate, so he agreed to return. Even though the family’s decision was based on faith rather than science, their doctor had to respect it.

The secular definition of autonomy is the ability of an individual “to deliberate a course of action and put that plan into action” (Lawrence, 2007, pg. 35). As a devout Christian, I admire Mike’s determination to entrust their child’s health to God. On the other hand, as a Christian nurse, I believe that God has blessed us with medical talent and advancements. In James’ case, it is clear that autonomy and faith are vital concerns under the Christian narrative and vision.

Mike, in my opinion, discounted wisdom by ignoring – or at the very least not considering – the doctor’s recommendation for dialysis. Mike and Joanne could have been encouraged to believe in God’s healing power by considering the benefits of modern medicine in this classic example of faith autonomy and God-given wisdom. Nonetheless, as a nurse, I would have to put my own preferences aside in favour of those of my patients.

Case Study Essay example on Biomedical Ethics in the Christian Narrative


In the case of adolescent James, there was no evidence that the physician disagreed with Mike and Joanne’s decision. He described their choice as one of several that “create considerable hurdles for clinical care teams when a patient or surrogate decision-maker aspires for a miracle” (Bibler et. al., 2018, pg. 40). Nonetheless, the doctor advocated for James as a patient by recommending dialysis as the best medical treatment option.

“For Christians, medicine is called to serve God’s call and purposes, and everything is done in remembrance of, and in light of, Jesus’ ultimate authority and kingship,” according to one statement (Grand Canyon University, 2015, para.16). Bioethics, also known as pluralism, delegate the application of four general conventional principles of “health care ethics, which include the Principle of respect for autonomy, Principle of nonmaleficence, Principle of beneficence, and Principle of justice,” according to James’ doctor (McCormick & Min, n.d., para. 5).

The doctor in James’ case respected the parents’ decision; however, recognizing that their faith-based decision could exacerbate their child’s condition, he strategically applied the principle of autonomy – which “requires respect for autonomous persons’ decision-making capacities” (Grand Canyon University, 2015, para.2). While Mike demonstrated his independence by foregoing recommended medical care for James, the doctor upheld the principle of nonmaleficence, which “requires that people not harm others.”

Intervention therapy to ensure Mike was aware of the risks to James’ health if he did not get dialysis (Grand Canyon University, 2015, para.2). As a result, Mike agreed to come back after “faith healing services later in the week, in the hopes that James would be cured by then.” As a result, the doctor’s advice complied with the principle of beneficence, which “requires that people avoid harm, provide benefits, and balance benefits against risks and costs.”

Whether or not the doctor saw Mike and Joanne’s decision as a roadblock to improving James’ quality of life through medical treatment, he explained the treatment options available to James and applied the principle of justice – “fair distribution of benefits, risks, and costs.” Mike and Joanne’s willingness to return a week later demonstrated this.

Even though Mike and Joanne refused dialysis for James, the doctor couldn’t stop Mike and Joanne from leaving the hospital. Biomedical Ethics Case Study in Christian Narrative Essay Examples In this instance, the patient or guardians of the patient must decide whether to accept or reject their doctor’s treatment advice. Whether the doctor felt James’ parents’ choice was based on sound reasoning or not, his personal prejudice is irrelevant at this stage.

Analysis of the Case

Although Mike and Joanne dutifully returned a week later, James’ condition had deteriorated to the point where he required a kidney donor to live. The Bible does not explicitly mention rejecting medical advice or, in this case, donating a kidney organ to save James’ life in the Christian narrative. However, the interpretation of scriptures frequently entangles a person’s moral and ethical beliefs.

In fact, this case study elucidates a Christian’s struggle with faith and wisdom. Mike and Joanne offered their own kidneys to save James’ life, even though they were not a match. Furthermore, James’ parents accepted kidneys from friends and the congregation, despite the fact that none of them were compatible.

Mike and Joanne, in the Christian story, initially believed in Jesus’ ability to heal, but they eventually found hope in a kidney transplant. Mike, on the other hand, struggled with the donation of James’ only kidney match, his twin brother Samuel. Mike now believes, but struggles with, that the now dire situation was a testament to his faith in God for James’ complete healing.

The complete reliance on faith in God and prayer over the successful use of modern medicine to treat James is called into question in this case. Indeed, “human autonomy may appear good at first, but it [may be] a deception from the enemy, and eventually everything goes wrong,” according to Mike and Joanne’s faith (Shelly & Miller, 2006, pg. 158).

Mike and Joanne may not be making the best decision by relying solely on prayer to heal life-threatening illnesses while dismissing the miracle of modern medicine. “We are given spiritual weapons for this battle: truth, justice, peace, faith, salvation, Scripture, and prayer,” according to Shelly and Miller (2006). (pg. 163).

The fact is that it takes more than faith and prayer to save a youngster like James from dying or suffering from a serious sickness. Mike and Joanne have the freedom to employ discernment when interpreting the doctor’s treatment suggestions as an answer to prayer, according to God’s verses. The Bible makes it clear that God has a plan for every one of us to be utilized to help His people. Doctors and nurses, for example, have been called to serve God’s creatures, mankind.

Furthermore, Mike and Joanne’s faith allowed them to accept James’ circumstance, in which having twins may have been ordered by God to save James’ life. Mike and Joanne may have been foolish and uninformed in rejecting to utilize the sole suitable kidney to save James’ life. As Christians, Mike and Joanne should exhibit their trust in God by recognizing the doctor’s medical therapy and the compatibility of Simon’s kidney as a God-given gift.

To put it another way, God has answered Mike and Joanne’s prayers by directing them to a medical specialist and a kidney that is a perfect match for James. Mike and Joanne, for their part, may exercise their faith independently by praying for the doctors who will take Simon’s kidney and transfer it to James to have wisdom and judgment.

Case Study Essay example on Biomedical Ethics in the Christian Narrative

The Christian Perspective on Illness and Health

The difference between life and death in this instance is very dependent on understanding the numerous spiritual weapons and dimensions intertwined in James’ circumstance – the power of prayer, confidence in God, the donated kidney as a gift of modern science, and God-given insight via the doctor’s competence. Patients, on the other hand, have the freedom to adhere to their own views while choosing medical treatment.

A doctor can also choose to advocate for their patients if they believe their decision, as in this case, is harmful to their child’s life. Even when their patients request it, doctors are not allowed to practice bad medicine in good conscience (Devettere, 2010, pg. 234). Mike and Joanne’s decision to practice the power of healing through prayer and laying on of hands, for example, could be respected by James’ physician as an approach that will not obstruct necessary surgery for James.

It is simple to praise God in good times; nevertheless, as Christians, we must also praise Him in hard times. Christians are encouraged in Romans 5: 3-4 to “rejoice in our tribulations,” knowing that “suffering generates endurance, endurance builds character, and character produces hope.” As a result, bad health, sickness, and illness are part of life’s trials that Christians ought to rejoice over.

Mike and Joanne regretfully reject the donor kidney in this situation, but they take James’ life-threatening sickness as a chance to praise God for their son’s complete health. “Understanding another part of the invisible, the moral dimension, is crucial,” on the other hand (Shelly & Miller, 2006, pg. 161).

Mike and Joanne could then embrace the doctor’s therapy as God’s divine intervention in their son’s life. Acceptance as medical therapy to heal their son’s condition and as the doctor operating as God’s instrument or agent are examples of the unseen. Mike and Joanne enable God to accomplish a healing miracle by embracing James’ doctor’s medical knowledge.


Because James’ health is ultimately decided by his parents, the doctor may have chosen to be more active in lobbying for and encouraging Mike and Joanne to accept therapy for James. In reality, “medicine is called to serve God’s mission and purposes, and everything is done in recollection of, and in light of, Jesus’ ultimate authority and kingdom,” according to the Christian story (Grand Canyon University, 2015, para.16).

Understanding and embracing the doctor’s knowledge as God’s plan for James’ recovery would not only save the ill kid extra misery but also bring the situation before God’s throne. Allowing individuals to exhibit their trust in God while ignoring medical care would have beneficial consequences in every situation in an ideal world. Regardless of the basis for the choice, medical decisions should not cause pain or injury to patients, regardless of their age.

Case Study Essay example on Biomedical Ethics in the Christian Narrative
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Case Study Essay example on Biomedical Ethics in the Christian Narrative
Biomedical Ethics in the Christian Narrative

1. What is bioethics in Christianity?

In the context of medicine and health care, Christian Bioethics is a non-ecumenical, interdenominational publication that explores the Christian religions’ perspectives on the purpose of human existence, sexuality, suffering, sickness, and death.

2. What is the Christian view of ethics?

Morality is emphasized in Christian ethics. The law and commandments are deontological norms that define what morality is. They are put in the framework of devotion to God. The Old Testament prophets portray God as a God who rejects all iniquity and injustice and rewards those who live moral lives.

3. What is meant by sanctity of life?

The word “sanctity of life” refers to the degree to which human life is valued. Humans were created as part of God’s creation and in God’s likeness, according to Jews. As a result, human life should be respected and regarded as holy and provided by God.

Additional content on biomedical ethics in the Christian narrative.


  • Bibler, T. M., Shinall, M. J., & Stahl, D. (2018). Responding to Those Who Hope for a Miracle:    Practices for Clinical Bioethicists. The American Journal Of Bioethics: AJOB18(5), 40-51. doi:10.1080/15265161.2018.1431702
  • Devettere, R. J. (2010). Practical Decision Making in Health Care Ethics: Cases and Concepts, Third Edition, 1-495. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press.
  • Grand Canyon University, (2015). God, Humanity, and Human Dignity[Lecture]. RetrievedbSeptember 9, 2018 from    MaterialId=a788df13-3e3d-4f98-83d7-029c35f3f96c&contentId=7c6bddaa-839a-46a4-        b02048f1f8451ce9&viewPage=current&currentTopicname=Biomedical%20Ethics%20in%20the%20Christian%20Narrative
  • Lawrence, D. (2007). The four principles of biomedical ethics: a foundation for current bioethical debate. Journal Of Chiropractic Humanities, (14), 34-40. Case Study on Biomedical Ethics in the Christian Narrative Essay examples.
  • McCormick, Thomas R. & Min, D. Principles of Bioethics. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  • Shelly, J. A., & Miller, A. B. (2006). Called to care: A Christian worldview for nursing (2nd ed.). Downers Grove, IL.: IVP Academic. Retrieved from

Case Study Essay example on Biomedical Ethics in the Christian Narrative

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