CASE STUDY ON DEATH AND DYING PHI 413
The work of health care providers at different levels entails encountering people from diverse faiths with particular perspectives on how to deal with health matters, especially chronic or terminal illnesses. Imperatively, nurses should possess not only knowledge but also an understanding of a diversity of faith expressions. The implication is that from the knowledge, they can offer guidance to their patients and be in a better position to handle such situations (Choudry, Latif & Warburton, 2018). The diversity of faith, as well as cultural values, interact with the contemporary Christian worldview and modern trends to impact how individuals make decisions concerning different situations in their lives. In this case study about George, nurses need to understand how to analyze the end of life situations and make effective as well as appropriate decisions based on different perspectives; for instance, a Christian worldview.
Interpretation of George’s Suffering in Light of Christian Narrative with Emphasis on the World’s fellness
When people seek medical attention to health care issues they face, it is possible that they would lose their Christian values based on the severity of their diagnoses and potential treatment interventions. Some may reject the diagnoses outright based on the Christian faith, especially when their faiths do not advocate for such interventions. In this case study, George has discovered through his physician that he has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). This condition gradually and progressively degenerates the ability of muscles to function optimally in the body. The disease is chronic or terminal and leads to death as it reduces like expectancy to between three and four years. George knows that in due time, he will not speak, move, or eat and even breathe because of the deterioration that his body muscle will endure in due course (Choudry et al., 2018). Unfortunately, George will know the things that will happen to him in the process of his slow death yet not in a position to discuss it with anyone. Because of this revelation, George contemplates voluntary euthanasia, yet he is a Christian and believes in the existence of God.
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Despite this belief in God, he also knows that the world has both good and evil ways and choices. Like other Christians, George needs to pray for strength and guidance from God. God is present in all situations and all the time. He surrounds believers and offers protection when they face difficult situations that are beyond their control. As a Christian, George should view God as the creator of the universe and giver of all situations (Devilliers, 2016). Imperatively, he should interpret his diagnosis from the perspective of God, trying to show his power and authority in his life. God opens his doors and blessings as well as miracles to those who are ready and have a firm belief in him in their lives. It is also important to note that all are created differently and uniquely based on their abilities and thinking. Therefore, human beings should take care of their lives and never take their life for granted. In this situation, George must be objective and cast his worries to God and follow the advice from his physician as a Christian.
George might interpret all these aspects and events as a trial of his belief and trust in God and his faith. The biblical story of Job and how he suffered is an inspiration for Christians when challenges with situations that test their faith and belief in God. George must seek God’s voice and consider his situation as temporary. Only God can intervene but based on his adherence to medication and not the contemplation of voluntary euthanasia since he has no power over his life (Choudry et al., 2018). George needs to understand that the world is full of both evil and good forces, which none can love to leave when faced with such eventualities. George should consider that even without the illness, he may have lived his full life based on God’s plan.
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Interpretation Based on Christian Narrative with Emphasis on Hope of Resurrection
The hope of resurrection based on the Christian narrative arises due to Jesus’s death and subsequent rising from the dead. The basis of Christianity is the story of life and death, as well as the subsequent resurrection of Christ. Christians believe that they will also partake in the life and death of Christ and will live after their death. Further, they get new experiences after their death (Worldview, 2017). In this case, George is a Christian and believes that it is only the body that dies and the spirit. Imperatively, an individual’s life before death may dictate the destination of their souls upon their death. Christians believe that good deeds and a commitment of faith in God lead their souls to heaven. Christians believe that the dead will resurrect on the second coming of Christ. Because George is a committed Christian, he should believe that there is hope, and he shall resurrect on the second coming of Christ. George should interpret his diagnosis and the subsequent suffering that he will endure with the hope that he shall live again on the second coming of Christ. The hope is resurrecting is significant to allow him to live and endure for the time when it is expected that he will be alive.
Value of Life Based on the ALS Diagnosis for George
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a condition that affects nerve cells and makes one experience gradual degeneration of the body muscles and their ability to work effectively. The implication is that with time, George will not have the ability to execute many activities as before. In effect, his life and contribution to society based on what he does will be limited or reduced significantly. As such, he may feel that his life and contribution are valueless as he will depend on others for all activities of his life.
Despite this unfortunate situation, George should value his life as precious and sacredly given by God. No one should take their life away or of another person. In this sense, George needs to know that despite his suffering, he has a life and should endure pain as well as all experiences related to it. Christians and all human beings have the purpose of living their lives. However, it is God’s plan that determines the purpose and how people live their lives. Therefore, George should view the diagnosis of the detrimental disease as the trial on his faith because Christians believe their lives have value even when facing challenges. God’s love is greatest to all of us, and it is only Him who determines the situations that a Christian encounters because he knows they can conquer them. George needs to know that his life is still valuable as it was before the diagnosis because he has a family (EuroMed Info, 2016). Lives should never be valueless due to the hardships that we may face. George has impacted and touched many lives through his profession and other activities, which makes him more valuable.
Sorts of Values in Christian Worldview on Euthanasia
Christianity, as a religion, has expectations that its followers must adhere. On the issue of death, Christianity does not allow killing since it is a sin to take life. The fifth commandment asserts that “thou shall not kill.” Therefore, euthanasia is a form of murder or suicide, and Christians cannot take it as an option. Christians should face their sufferings because of the origin of sin as the pains and hard times are aimed at testing and strengthening our faith and providing lessons in life.
An analysis of George’s situation concerning his health from a religious, certain principle of biomedical ethics should be assessed. These include respect for autonomy, justice, non-maleficence, and beneficence. Christianity respects George’s dignity. The health concerns, as well as spiritual beliefs, must respect his decision for euthanasia as an option. However, Christianity is against euthanasia because of the principle of non-maleficence as Christians should not cause any harm to an individual. In regards to beneficence, the physician should respect and offer support to patients while adhering to their religious perspectives or wishes (Smith, 2018). On the principle of justice, George should not consider euthanasia because it violates Christian laws and beliefs that require people to live until they die naturally.
Morally Justified Options
Christians believe that all things are possible through God’s guidance. Consequently, George should take his treatment process and adhere to the guidelines from his physician. While he has a choice to either take the medication or not, it is important for him to believe in God and follow any assistance that shall be provided by the doctors. George’s condition has no cure and will lead to further deterioration of his nervous system to a point where he will not carry out his daily routines like family and professional responsibilities. Based on a Christian worldview, he should get guidance on how to endure the sufferings as preparation for his eventual demise. While he has opted for voluntary euthanasia, he needs to understand that this is unacceptable in Christianity because it is viewed as self-murder (Schweda et al., 2017). God requires people to live and die naturally. Christianity does not allow harm to self or others. George should know that death through euthanasia would be devastated and traumatizing for himself, his family, and those who know him. He should rely on his faith and family to attain support that he requires to survive the hard times.
The Decision if in George’s Situation
George’s situation is devastating and emotionally draining. The chronic illness with few years to live in a deteriorated state does not inspire anyone to make any sound and meaningful decision. George knows that his value in life would be limited and eventually become unsustainable. The implication is that he cannot support his decisions and choices. Based on these factors, I would opt for a more guided life and prepare for the diminished abilities to perform critical life functions. The decision to take medication would be the most effective over euthanasia. However, it would be influenced significantly by the support that I will attain from those close to me. Our lives revolve around families, friends, colleagues, neighbors, and the Christian community. Therefore, my worldview and decision to take medication as opposed to voluntary euthanasia would depend on the support and the advice from even the medical team and what my family thinks. If they can support the decision for euthanasia, it would be right because they may not want to witness my long-suffering. However, it is important to know that life is valuable and cannot be taken for granted. I will endure and face my God till death comes.
Choudry, M., Latif, A., & Warburton (2018). An overview of the spiritual importance of end-of-
life care among the five major faiths of the United Kingdom. Clinical Medicine, vol. 18, No.1, pp.23-31.
Devilliers, D. E. (2016). May Christians request medically assisted suicide and euthanasia? HTS
Theological Studies, Vol.72, No.4.
EuroMed Info. (2016). How culture influences health beliefs. Retrieved from
Schweda, M., Schicktanz, S., Raz, A., & Silvers, A. (2017). Beyond cultural stereotyping: views
on end-of-life decision making among religious and secular persons in the USA, Germany, and Israel. BMC Medical Ethics, Vol.18, No.13, pp. 1-11.
Smith, P. T. (2018). Ramsey on “Choosing Life” at the End of Life: Conceptual Analysis of
Euthanasia and Adjudicating End-of-Life Care Options. Christian bioethics: Non-Ecumenical Studies in Medical Morality, Volume 24, Issue 2, August 2018, Pages 151–172.
Worldview (2017). Helping you better understand the world’s cultures and belief systems.
Retrieved from http://www.worldviewu.org/
The practice of health care providers at all levels brings you into contact with people from a variety of faiths. This calls for knowledge and understanding of a diversity of faith expressions; for the purpose of this course, the focus will be on the Christian worldview.
Based on “Case Study: End of Life Decisions,” the Christian worldview, and the worldview questions presented in the required topic Resources you will complete an ethical analysis of George’s situation and his decision from the perspective of the Christian worldview.
Provide a 1,500-2,000-word ethical analysis while answering the following questions:
- How would George interpret his suffering in light of the Christian narrative, with an emphasis on the fallenness of the world?
Case Study on Death and Dying: End of Life Decisions
Chronic diseases can have devastating negative effects on individuals because of the consequences associated with them on their health and other areas of life like financial resources and their overall health status. These individuals may make decisions at the end of life based on their worldview which contains a set of beliefs, perspectives, and positions on critical issues that affect their lives. Healthcare providers in such situations must understand these worldviews, such as Christianity, and what they advance in such issues (Falque, 2020). Patients with terminal conditions may undergo psychological issues with some opting for euthanasia. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the case study of George, a successful attorney in his mid-fifties, recently diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); a degenerative condition that affects the nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Because of its effects which include eventual paralysis and disability, George starts contemplating the possibility of voluntary euthanasia. The paper explores the case using a Christian worldview narrative with emphasis on the creation account and the fall of man.
Interpretation of George’s Suffering with an Emphasis on the Fallenness of the World
The Christian narrative discusses critical events and happenings that shaped the Christian faith and worldview. The narrative entails the creation account, the fall of man due to the origin of Sin, redemption through Jesus Christ’s suffering and crucifixion, and restoration through His death and resurrection. According to the Christian narrative, the Fallenness of the world occurred due to the Original Sin committed by the first people created by God; Adam and Eve, when they disobeyed Him and ate the forbidden fruit. The disobedience demonstrated the rejection of God to rule and control them leading to the breaking of Shalom or peaceful coexistence with God. Consequently, God pronounced suffering on man (Falque, 2020). The disobedience led to the declaration of death and man estranged himself from God. Imperatively, diseases, suffering, and death became part of human life. As such, George should interpret his suffering because of the ALS diagnosis as part of human life due to the sinfulness of man. George should know that man suffers and dies as part of his life on this earth as pronounced by God. George should accept the suffering as a personal experience that God may want to use to demonstrate His power because He is the only one who can take life away.
Christians believe that while suffering is devastating, it is a critical part of one’s faith and God usually rewards the suffering. Christians advance that while man sinned, one cannot get redemption from Jesus Christ. Just like through one person, sin and its consequences entered the world, and so through one man, Jesus Christ, they can get redemption through His healing (Delio, 2020). Therefore, George should interpret his suffering as a core aspect of his existence in this world. The suffering may be meant to test his faith in God and he should allow it to take its course, despite the negative aspects like pain and a possible disability. The world is filled with evil and suffering and human beings are afflicted with pain and different bad things arising from both natural and human-made features. Therefore, George should interpret all these things and understand that his suffering due to ALS is not strange or unique but a core part of his existence and experience in the world. He should be resilient and focus on his faith in God.
- How would George interpret his suffering in light of the Christian narrative, with an emphasis on the hope of resurrection?
Interpretation with Emphasis on Hope of Resurrection
According to the Christian narrative, the resurrection of Jesus Christ after his crucifixion and death gives hope that there is life after death. This implies that even when disease afflicts people and causes their death, those who believe will resurrect on judgment day and live forever with Jesus Christ and God in a new world. The hope of resurrection gives Christians hope and resiliency to fight against evil, afflictions, and sufferings that one may endure while living (Mugg et al., 2018). The hope of resurrection prepares one to face death knowing that it is not the ultimate end but the beginning of a new life on the second coming of Jesus Christ. Christians believe that while all die due to Adam’s sin, they are made alive through Jesus Christ (Corinthians 15:22 NIV). The implication is that resurrection gives Christians hope that even in afflictions and sufferings, God will put them out of the problems when they believe and have faith in Him. Christians are categorical that suffering tests one’s faith in the hope of resurrection and those who endure and overcome get resurrected when they have a new lease of life and testimony.
George should interpret his illness as an obstacle that offers him an opportunity to test his faith and be ready for the resurrection. George should hope that his situation will be over and sharing his suffering with that of Christ will help him to be resilient. Enduring the troubles of life will help him attain the hope of resurrection (Faneye, 2019). Based on this perspective, George should be strong and hope that his suffering through ALS is only temporary. Again, he should interpret that even if he dies, he shall be resurrected on judgment day on the second coming of Jesus. More fundamentally, George should have the hope that his condition will improve.
- As George contemplates life with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), how would the Christian worldview inform his view about the value of his life as a person?
- What sorts of values and considerations would the Christian worldview focus on in deliberating about whether or not George should opt for euthanasia?
- Given the above, what options would be morally justified in the Christian worldview for George and why?
- Based on your worldview, what decision would you make if you were in George’s situation?
Remember to support your responses with the topic Resources.
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