Healing And Autonomy: Case Study Of James

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Question :

Case Study: Healing and Autonomy

Mike and Joanne are the parents of James and Samuel, identical twins born eight years ago. James is currently suffering from acute glomerulonephritis, 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’ 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. 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.

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 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’ nephrologist called to schedule a private appointment with Mike and Joanne. James was stable, given the 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’ 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? “This time around, it is a matter of life and death, what could require greater faith than that?” Mike reasons.


Write a 1,300 word analysis of "Case Study: Healing and Autonomy." In light of the readings, be sure to address the following questions:

  1. Under the Christian narrative and Christian vision, what sorts of issues are most pressing in this case study?
  2. Should the physician allow Mike to continue making decisions that seem to him to be irrational and harmful to James?
  3. According to the Christian narrative and the discussion of the issues of treatment refusal, patient autonomy, and organ donation in the topic readings, how might one analyze this case?
  4. According to the topic readings and lecture, how ought the Christian think about sickness and health? What should Mike as a Christian do? How should he reason about trusting God and treating James?

Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA Style Guide.

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Answer :

Major Issues in the Case Study

In a given case, it is first found that Mike and Joanne are the parents of James and Samuel, identical twins born eight years ago. However, recently, James is suffering from acute glomerulonephritis - a type of kidney failure in given circumstances. James under such conditions is immediately brought to the hospital, wherein it is found that he is suffering from strep throat infection. 

The spread of the A streptococcus infection further lead to the kidney failure in James. The condition had worsened to such an extent that James was not only required to get admitted in the healthcare hospital but was also required to overcome the challenges associated with a given healthcare issue. 

But in this case, James was also suffering from elevated blood pressure and enough fluid build-up due to which temporary dialysis was required to relieve from the present situation. The attending physician also recommended to carry out dialysis. However, Joanne decided to forego the dialysis and instead place their faith in God. 

They believed that by praying over a healing service, James will find it better and will get recovered from the present situation. However, after two weeks, James was again brought to the hospital as his condition had deteriorated. Mike felt doubtful about the decision of not treating James earlier. In the present scenario, it was found that the kidneys had totally stopped functioning and now even dialysis was not possible. 

There was a need of kidney transplant in a given case that would save James against such healthcare challenge. Further, to increase the problems, there was not a single donor found with whose the kidney match will be found. James was required to transplant the kidney within a year to save his life. 

Under such circumstances, both the parents Mike and Joanne started searching for the right donor; the medical team suggested that James' brother Samuel did had the right match but will create an ethical dilemma for the parents. 

Hence, it would mean that Samuel will be losing his kidney while James will find it difficult to come back to the normal routine life. Thus, there are several issues in the study pertaining to the decision taken by James' parents, the approach to heal James, and whether the parents should consider Samuel’s kidney for kidney transplant or not.

Role of Physician in Decision-Making

Today, the role of the physicians and other supporting medical staff is to provide healthcare services to the patients. Also, the services delivered should be better from the quality perspective and as per the expectations of the patients and the relatives of the patients. Today, due to advent of new technologies, it is found that the patients and their members are aware of the different healthcare treatments offered by the organization (Wall, 2012). 

Hence, under all the given cases, the role of the physician is to focus on improving the health of the patient. Even, in this case, the medical professional made a mistake of allowing James' parents to not undergo for dialysis and instead consider the approach of putting faith in God and the supported healing services. 

The medical professional needs to demonstrate the medical reports of James and instead should have clearly explained to both the father and the mother of James regarding the challenging situation. He should have also informed them about the negative consequences so that they could have taken better decision in that situation (Ziebarth, 2014). 

The role of the medical professionals is to improve the healthcare situation of the patient irrespective of the given circumstances. They need to immediately start providing treatment options to James in this case and thereby conduct the dialysis. It would have helped James from that situation and could have also solved the challenges of the present scenario. The challenge of kidney transplant would not have risen and instead would have helped James to recover from the present situation. 

The medical professionals thereby need to focus on the Principles of Ethics, respect the religious values but finally need to perform the medical responsibilities as assigned to them in a given working scenario (Ziebarth, 2014). They, however, need to follow the rules and regulations of the healthcare organization to ensure that they overcome workplace challenges and thereby assist the patients in their every need. Only then the patients like James could improve from the present critical conditions.

Analysing the Case from the Christian Narrative

In this case, it is observed that the patient James is not allowed to under the dialysis program and instead is recommended for the healing services as provided in the Church through prayers and other such formats of medical services (Dyess, Chase, & Newlin, 2010). Hanne had witnessed a close friend regain mobility through such an approach after serving a serious stroke. But such conditions can be considered either as a miracle or any other such phenomenon. 

Today, with advent of new technologies, it is found that the medical science has advanced to the next level. The medical professionals are following new norms and new practical approaches in the organization to ensure delivering of the best quality medical services to the patients (Guz, Gursel, & Ozbek, 2012). 

Even, the top-level management of the given healthcare institutions appreciate the approach of the medical professionals and motivate them to continue their services in the organization. The medical professionals are supported by the nursing and other medical staff during all such treatment options. Hence, when one considers the nursing approach from the Christian Narrative, one can find that the nurses need to follow the principles of ethics and thereby ensure healing of the patients through medical ways (Kay & Saudelli, 2015). 

The role of the nursing staff in such organizations is to follow the ANA Code of Ethics and thereby overcome the Christian beliefs and old-traditions as followed in other previous cases. Today, the patients will be able to get healed only through medical solutions (Kay & Saudelli, 2015). Hence, James was required to get the dialysis to avoid kidney issues in the near future. 

For this purpose, the physician and the nursing staff were required to communicate with the parents and other relatives of the patient and thereby make them understand about the current situation and the future scenario. It will help them to convince them in a better way in such conditions. Also, the parents need to overcome such religious beliefs and instead focus on the medical practices in a given organization. It will help Mike and Joanne to overcome with the present challenge and get their son James healed with the help of medical solutions.

Trusting God and Treating James: Overcoming the Religious Dilemma

In the given case, one needs to overcome the dilemma of treating the patient through either medical services or by placing faith and belief in God and waiting for the miracle to happen in such circumstances. The Christian leaders also need to spread awareness about such issues and make people believe that the patients will be able to get recover soon through medical treatments (Bakibinga, Vinje, & Mittelmark, 2014); the prayers and other such forms of worships to the God will definitely increase the trust levels but will not assist in healing the patient. 

The prayers will increase the inner confidence levels that James will get recovered from the present situation; however, it will be through a medical approach through which James will be treated in a better way. The role of the medical organizations is thereby to focus on such issues, assist people in overcoming such beliefs, and thereby establish medical traditions in the organization (Lynn, Yoo, & Levine, 2014). 

Under the norms of the organization, every patient will be required to get admitted and get recovered if found to be suffering from cases similar to that of James in this report. Further, the parents and other relatives of the patient need to be strictly instructed about the rules of the organization. They need to adhere to such practices and thereby make sure that James will be able to get recovered from the present situation.