Academic Master

Health Care

Healing And Autonomy


The children suffer the consequences of parental autonomy that rely on spiritual healing rather than appropriate medical treatment. Many children die when they receive no medical treatment because medical institutes and doctors cannot make decisions without parents’ autonomy. Conflicts appear as parents need to choose between child welfare and their practice of religion. In real life, relying merely on spiritual healing is not sufficient, and it results in the deaths of children. In the present scenario, Mike and Joanne encounter an ethical dilemma as they need to choose between their child’s health or faith. Their decision to avoid James’s dialysis resulted in his deteriorating condition. However, their faith is tested when they have to choose between a miracle or donating the kidney of their healthy son. They can either rely on miracles and hope for James’s recovery or donate their kidney to Samuel (Hickey & Lyckholm, 2004).

Christians’ vision gives considerable importance to spirituality as it relies on the principles of Christianity. The narrative promotes belief in God as it impacts human life positively. God is the most powerful entity in religion, and nothing can happen against his will. It also confers the belief that God is in charge of taking lives, “the Lord brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up” (Samuel 2:6). Ethical decision-making allows Christians to make the right decisions. Ethics is to choose right and good through the application of Christian faith in decision-making. The Bible emphasizes following the Christian faith, which involves religious values and principles. The ethical issues require the application of religious principles in real life, such as in case of illness. Under the influence of Christian vision, Mike and Joanne reject the medical treatment of their child. Their decision of Mike is unjust and unethical because it results in further health damage. The Bible helps in everyday moral decisions, not complicating the situation. Christian principles emphasize making good choices, and good choices do not lead to pain or suffering. The application of the biblical views depicts determining the right actions in each situation and defining applicable rules of religion. The choice must lead to the best outcomes, indicating minimization of harm. Biblical principles suggest understanding the rules and their consequences. Evidence reveals that Christianity promoted health and welfare. The concept of child welfare is also derived from Christian scripture, which promotes health and quality of care. Mike’s decision depicts that he did not understand the actual meaning of spirituality, which resulted in the wrong decision (Alistair & Wayne, 2010).

The physician has a duty to save the life of a child and take appropriate actions that lead to his health, stability, and welfare, but parental autonomy has a significant role in decision-making. The doctor has a responsibility to inform the parents about the exact condition of the child and suggest adequate measures to prevent further loss. The physician also needs to inform them about the consequences of rejecting treatment. In the present scenario, the physical must convince the parents about weaker health of James and provide reasoning for dialysis. The physician must not simply accept their decision of Mike because he can perceive the adversities associated with his unwise decision. However, in real life, the physician faces limitations as he is not able to act against his parents’ autonomy. Though he could identify the risks associated with his irrational decision of Mike, he can’t take the child for dialysis without his parents’ permission. Even with the physician’s disagreement, Mike is capable of choosing the life of his son. It is the parent’s right to consider other treatments and possibilities. The physician in such conditions can only use medical evidence to present dialysis as an effective treatment. The doctor cannot simply ignore the decision of the parents and continue the treatment that, according to him, is the best fit. Even if he recognizes the irrationality in Mike’s decision, he cannot force them to undergo dialysis (Orfail, 2009). A patient’s autonomy reveals that competent authority can make the decision regarding the treatment. Physical cannot make any decision that is against the parent’s autonomy.

In the present case, Mike’s refusal is the result of his Christian beliefs. It is important to link spirituality with the human capacity of self-existence in everyday life and provide fulfillment for the meaning of life. Christian spirituality entails one’s experiences of life and also engages in the field of science and medicine. Spirituality and Christianity resulted in the formulation of principles of bioethics challenging the beliefs related to meaning and value. Christian narrative suggests a connection between ethics and medicine. The principle of totality states that one should provide purpose and meaning to one’s life. It also believes in the idea of totality, making care programs part of religious beliefs. The physical health of an individual shows a relationship with spiritual well-being. The Christian belief identifies providing relief to people who are in pain. The views promote the concept of helping others and protecting them from harm. From the Christian viewpoint, rejecting dialysis will cause further harm to the child, which is wrong. Similarly, the fact that dialysis will provide relief from pain and improve a child’s health recognizes dialysis as a religious option. According to Christian views, treatment refusal is accepted when it is useless or incurs a burden. According to the principle of totality, organ transplantation is not unethical because it leads to wholeness. Organ donation is an act of love, as Jesus instructed us to love people and neighbors. The concept of a loving neighbor exhibits care towards people and humanity. Organ transplantation is not considered a sin because it leads to the survival of humanity (Hickey & Lyckholm, 2004).

The concept of sickness and health prevails in Christianity, as Jesus promoted the idea of compassion. Compassion, according to Christian belief, is closely related to healing. Jesus also emphasized the concept of ‘life to the fill’ reflecting mental and physical health. Mike viewed sickness from a purely Christian perspective, but the views of Christians regarding health vary. Some Christians believe that sickness is to test their patience and faith in God. At the same time, others believe that God created doctors and help so they must get rid of sickness. Mike displays former beliefs, and initially, he thinks that keeping his son away from medical treatment will prove his faith. Also, he thought seeking medical help would result in his failure as a Christian. However, he could reason that God advised people to help each other and that he was against pain. So, treating James will relieve him of the pain and suffering. He could also use the views of Jesus, who promoted the idea of compassion and care toward humans (Alistair & Wayne, 2010).


Choosing between medical treatment and religion often puts Christians in a conflicting situation. The role of spirituality in deciding on the acceptance or rejection of the treatment depends on how people perceive religious beliefs. Mike was initially unable to think about the relationship between spirituality and healthcare, which resulted in their deteriorating health of James. The deeper meaning of Christianity emphasizes helping people and protecting them from harm. The right decision for Mike would be to seek medical help. The concept depicts Christianity as promoting health and allowing actions that help avoid suffering or pain.


Alistair, M., & Wayne, K. (2010). Ethics at Work Overview. Theology of Work Project, 40.

Hickey, K. S., & Lyckholm, L. (2004). Child welfare versus parental autonomy: medical ethics, the law, and faith-based healing. Theor Med Bioeth, 25 (4), 265-76.

Orfail, K. (2009). Parental role in medical decision-making: fact or fiction? A comparative study of ethical dilemmas in French and American neonatal intensive care units. Soc Sci Med, 58 (10), 22.



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