The Case of Mike and Joanne

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In cases that require religion and healthcare intervention

There has been an exceptional line that affected and infected people must walk. Religion has the obligation of giving people strength through hope and assures healing. That gives an individual a hard time in making decisions concerning health while at the same time maintaining their spiritual stand. A point of conflict reaches when ethical, religious beliefs clash when making medical decisions. Medical professionals have a duty of presenting options on a health issue to their patients but in many cases family religious beliefs and faith trump doctor's opinion of what is the best case scenario.

In this study, Joanne and Mike are in a dilemma of their son's medical condition

Deciding on the best option for their child to receive treatment or trust God for healing. James is suffering from kidney failure, and currently, he is undergoing dialysis, and the physician is advocating for a kidney transplant. The parents are confused whether to accept the treatment for their some or go for a prayer meeting to receive healing at their place of worship. Their personal beliefs and the bible or having a medical treatment as proposed by the doctor bring them to the point of conflict. This paper delves into the ethical issues encompassing Mike and Joanne concerning their son's illness focusing on the Christian principles and their impacts on decision-making.

Christian Narrative and Vision

Many ethical issues come into play when parents choose to withhold medical treatment for their children and opt to attend a prayer meeting at their place of worship on the grounds of following the Bible and religious beliefs. Basing the argument on the Christian narrative and vision, human beings are an extension of God and were created in His image. Mike and Joanne are staunch believers and therefore believe that James will be healed by God through the power of prayer. According to (Meilaender, 2013), through baptism God sets his hand upon us, refers to us by name, and that establishes a form of uniqueness in human beings destiny and identity. Many Christians believe that when a child is baptized, they receive God's ownership and that brings hope when they are sick as seen in the case study. Autonomy brings out the ethical issue in this case. The child is unable to make his own decisions due to his innocence, and the parents have to chip in. The big question is whether the decisions made by the parents are the best for the child considering his medical situation.

The Christian narrative describes that God created human beings according to his desire and will

Everything in the universe is created for a valuable purpose, and that does not mean that everything has to be attractive, but there is a reason for things to be the way they are (Meilaender, 2013). Mike and Joanne are Christians, and they have a strong belief that God will take care of their needs and for the needs of their children. Another ethical issue comes in when Samuel, James' brother, proves to a suitable kidney donor and their parents are torn in between in deciding whether it is worthy for their healthy son to donate a kidney to save James.

Doctor's Input on Decisions

Medical professional ethics calls for physicians to exercise sympathy to suffering patients and be partners with them rather than dictating to them information (Puchalski, 2001). The doctor's efforts of convincing Mike about his son's critical health status that needs urgency will not cause Mike to retain such information, or take heed of it. Healthcare practice has shifted to be patient-centered or compassionate care. That kind of approach creates a partnership between patients and their physicians instead of involving their next of kin in diagnoses and that has proved to be productive. On one side, the doctor has the obligation of taking heed of Mike's beliefs and decisions, but on the other hand, he has a duty of ensuring that his patient does not suffer.

Mike's decisions over his child's illness that may be detrimental to his son create and the willingness of the doctor to allow them creates a grey area in the medical profession. Science and religion create a conflict for many families who are a staunch believer but are in need of medical attention that is against their Christian faith. Mike and his wife believe in the bible and trust God for the healing of their son, and that is why they are planning to attend a prayer meeting to help heal James. Appreciating that Mike the parent and next of kin, James is too young to understand his autonomy and be at a point of making his own decisions, in that course, the doctor has to chip in and arbitrate when the wellbeing of the child is at a blink. The family should be presented with all the possible options about their child's health, and be given a chance to make the final decision regarding James. In doing that, the physician proves to be understanding and respectful of his patient's spiritual beliefs and faith. The code of ethics dictates that medical professional should consider patients' wish and will before commencing any treatment.

Analysis of the case

Whereas Christians too as extent believe in organ donation, the pressing issue, in this case, is whether the kidney should be acquired from a healthy sibling to save the life of the other. Parents have the desire of seeing their children in perfect health and happy as in the case of Mike and Joanne, but the dilemma of whether to accept treatment as proposed by the doctor, or put their trust in God and the power of prayer. Their refusal to seek treatment during the initial stages has made the case worse than it was in the process of praying and trusting God. The child holds his innocence when it comes to making decisions concerning their health and parents have to be involved.

The fact is that science and religion will never meet eye-to-eye when there is an issue of health care that lies in between the two. However, the best case scenario has been witnessed when the religious backgrounds of patients and their kin have been considered. There no sure way for anyone to predict the future of a patient as to whether initial treatment could have worked but it is all based on assumption, faith, and hope. Conclusions cannot be reached that if the initial treatment suggested by the doctor could have made the child's health better.

Christian views of science and health

Christian beliefs acknowledge that human beings were created in God's image and therefore they should lead a life that is dependent on Him. In times of health and sickness, Christians believe in the power of prayer that can heal them and their families, as well as miracles that act depending on one's faith (Meilaender, 2013). In the case of Mike and Joanne, they forego their first treatment with the hope of attending a prayer meeting and getting healed, and as a result, their child deteriorates. Based on this case, Christians view on sickness and health depends on the quality of life. There should be a guideline and an open discussion about treatment about religious beliefs. That will help the medical professions to understand where the family stands when it comes to religion and treatment.

According to Christian narrative, when the fall happened, and death, suffering, and diseases entered the world, Christians became aware of God's redemption, and the knowledge of doing what is just and right was appreciated (Meilaender, 2013). Health and sickness could be restored through spirituality and prayer. In case someone falls sick, they could be healed through belief and prayers to their God. The fellowship is another aspect that Christians hold dear. Mike and Joanne believe that in keeping prayers together with other believers, their son would be healed and they forego the treatment. That is grounded in them being witnesses of healing miracles in the church from other members and trusting God at this time is of great importance to them. In conclusion, religion and spirituality are a considerable part of people's lives, especially in times of suffering and illness. Healthcare providers have the obligation of determining whether or not religion is part of their patients' welfare, and that is the case, they have to come up with a plan of care while incorporating such beliefs. By doing that, it will provide the best results for all stakeholders, even in times when religion and science conflict.

Works Cited

Meilaender, G. (n.d.). Bioethics: A Primer for Christians,

3rd ed. Retrieved July 26, 2017, from

Puchalski, C. M. (2001). The role of spirituality in health care. Proceedings (Baylor University. Medical Center), 14(4), 352–357.

October 13, 2023

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