PHI-413V-Death and Dying Case Study – End of life decisions – George

PHI-413V-Death and Dying Case Study – End of life decisions – George

Abstract

Christians believe that there is an all-powerful or omnipotent God who is also omnipresent and omniscient. Aside from this, many facets of life of Christians are governed by the teachings of the Holy Bible. This is the Christian worldview. In this case study of George, a situation that brings about an ethical dilemma portends. Having been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS, he will soon not be able to talk, move, eat or breathe. The moral and ethical question that therefore arises is whether or not he can choose to have voluntary euthanasia, given that ALS is not curable.

Key words: Christian worldview, ALS, euthanasia, fallenness.

 

Case Study on George, Diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or ALS: Dealing with Death and Dying and Having to Make Difficult Ethical Decisions in the Context of Christian Worldview

It is undeniable that many people in the world believe that there is a God above us who controls everything that happens in this world. Majority of these people profess the Christian faith and believe that their God is an all-powerful (omnipotent) God who also happens to be omnipresent (present everywhere) and omniscient (knows everything). However, there are evil things that go on in the world that make a substantial section of the himan race want to believe that there is no God. The fact that evil can happen unabated, good people can be killed, and incurable diseases can afflict people causing them untold suffering and death all make rhis section of the world’s population believe that the presence of this all-powerful God is just but a myth. PHI-413V-Death and Dying Case Study – End of life decisions – George. For why would he allow his good people to suffer and die from disease and evil? This paper analyzes the ethics involved in the case of George who has been diagnosed with incurable Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or ALS. The disease will eventually render him incapable of breathing unless assisted by a machine for the rest of his life. He is thus contemplating having voluntary euthanasia where he gives permission for the machine to be switched off or for drugs to be injected in him so that he can die instead of suffering. This will be done in a backdrop of the Christian worldview.

Fallenness of the World

George who is currently 50 years of age has lived a full and active life. He is a successful attorney and legal scholar who also teaches at the university. Apart from that, he is a family man and is involved in the coaching of his teenage son’s basketball team. This means that he is also athletic and a physical fitness fanatic. But all this is about to change because George has just been diagnosed with the early signs of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS. This is a degenerative neuronal disease that causes a deterioration of the myelin sheath around motor neurons. The result is the loss of some vital motor functions controlled by the affected nerves (Hammer & McPhee, 2018; Huether & McCance, 2017). George will therefore soon lose his ability to talk, move, eat, or breathe. What’s more traumatising is that the disease is not curable and worsens gradually to a point of no return. PHI-413V-Death and Dying Case Study – End of life decisions – George.

But how would George interpret his suffering in light of the Christian narrative, if one may ask? How would he interpret the suffering considering that the concept of the fallenness of the world is a reality? Well, in the Christian context there is Job whom God allowed to suffer and be tested by the devil. Being a Christian, George would view his illness and suffering from this standpoint. He would view his situation as a test of his faith and belief in God. However, the reality of the fallenness of the world will nit escape him. And it is this reality that will make him question the very existence of God himself. Fallenness of the world refers to the fact that the world is filled with suffering and evil, and that human beings are afflicted by pain and suffering from natural causes (Dickinson, 2019). As such, George may find himself questioning whether the Christian God really exists. For why would he allow him to suffer like this?

Hope of Resurrection

In the New Testament, Jesus suffered immensely from the persecution of the earthly authorities of the time who eventually crucified and killed him. But the Bible teaches that Jesus was the son of God. It had therefore been prophesied much earlier that he would be crucified, be dead for three days, and rise from the dead on the third day. As a Christian, George would have every reason to believe that he would resurrect when the world as we know it finally comes to an end as written in the Bible. His belief in this eventuality would not be shaken by the fact of the fallenness of the world as he knows it and now experiences at a personal level. PHI-413V-Death and Dying Case Study – End of life decisions – George.

Life with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Having been afflicted with the incurable ALS, George is definitely bound to think about the value of his life as a human being. Being a Christian, life is sacred and must be guarded at all times, regardless of its quality. The Christian worldview holds that only God gives life and also takes it. No other person has the right to take someone else’s life, including their own. With tbis in mind, George is bound to be tormented with the thought of exercising his autonomy as prescribed by the bioethical principle of autonomy. This is where a person or patient affected by disease makes the conscious decision of how their care should proceed. PHI-413V-Death and Dying Case Study – End of life decisions – George. He would also ponder over whether to make the decision that would do the greatest good to himself and his family as dictated by  beneficence (such as considering voluntary euthanasia), or respect the sanctity of life (as espoused by the Christian worldview) and continue to suffer. This is an ethical dilemma compounded by the  Christian belief of the value of life, but which George will have to finally deal with.

Contemplating Euthanasia in the Context of the Values and Considerations of the Christian Worldview

There are several values and considerations that the Christian worldview wiuld consider, even as the question of whether George should opt for euthanasia or not is addressed. As stated earlier, the principal position of the Christian worldview is that all life is sacred regardless of the quality. This directly translates to the position that no one except God should take life. However, there are special circumstances that may warrant consideration of the patient’s and their family’s welfare and wellbeing (beneficence and nonmaleficence). For instance, the Christian worldview will consider whether the person affected (in this case, George) can be productive and support himself. The answer to this question is negative, especially in the latter stages of ALS. It will also consider the suffering and pain that George will be going through. Will the life be wirth preserving if that will be the cause of suffering for George? The third consideration will be whether George will be in a position to continue serving God’s purpose on earth through his deeds. The answer will be negative. PHI-413V-Death and Dying Case Study – End of life decisions – George. George will not be able to do anything and will rely fully on others to live. Last but not least, the Christian worldview will also consider the effect of George’s position on the long-term emotional and psychological wellbeing of his family. Keeping George alive without a realistic chance of feeling better will only be subjecting his family to a lifetime of torment and suffering as well. In all, after looking at all the values and considerations from a Christian worldview perspective, ut would seem that euthanasia would be a viable and the better option.

A Morally Justified Option in the Christian Worldview

After going through the values and considerations above, the Christian worldview has to settle for one morally justified option. This is an option that must bring the greatest good to George and his family ( beneficence), must allow George and his family to exercise theor right to decide the direction of care (autonomy), must not do harm (psychologically, physically, emotionally, and spiritually) to George and his family (nonmaleficence), and must give George and his family all the options of management available to confront the situation without bias (justice). Having considered all the factors, it is clear that the Christian worldview option that is morally acceptable in this case will be voluntary euthanasia. This is the only option at the moment that is able to tick all the above described moral and ethical boxes of beneficence, nonmaleficence, autonomy, and justice. Allowing George to continue living when his life will completely depend on a ventilator machine will not be wise at all. Apart from the emotional, physical, and psychological suffering George and his family will undergo (Corey, 2013), the economic cost will be immense. Ventilators that help patients breathe are typically gound in the intensive care units (ICU) of big hospitals. PHI-413V-Death and Dying Case Study – End of life decisions – George. A single day’s stay on one of these machines in the ICU is usually in the region of USD 100. Morally, allowing George to drain all the family resources when the outcome will never improve is tantamount to subjecting the rest of his family to a life of poverty and want. His children might not be able to go to school or have enough to eat, just because he was being kept alive by a costly machine yet he woukd never walk or talk again.

What Would be the Rational Decision to Make, Viewing the Situation from Outside

Looking at the situation from a neutral outside position, I would also choose euthanasia if I were in George’s position. This is because of the reasons already given in the immediate preceding section.

Conclusion

The Christian worldview shapes the view of the the world that Christians have towards various issues. One of these issues is the value and sanctity of life. As much as there is an all-powerful God who gives and protects life , there is also the reality of the fallenness of the world which states that human beings do suffer and get afflicted by disease and pain from natural causes. When afflicted, there is a delicate balance that has to be struck between what the Christian worldview states and what is morally and ethically sound given the prevailing situation. Euthanasia is a case in point. PHI-413V-Death and Dying Case Study – End of life decisions – George.

 

References

Corey, G. (2013). Theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy, 9th ed. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.

Dickinson, T. (May 27, 2019). Christianity’s extraordinary solution to believing in God in a world of evil and pain. STREAM. Retrieved 18 February 2020 from

Hammer, D.G., & McPhee, S.J. (Eds). (2018). Pathophysiology of disease: An introduction to clinical medicine, 8th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

Huether, S.E. & McCance, K.L. (2017). Understanding pathophysiology, 6th ed. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier, Inc. PHI-413V-Death and Dying Case Study – End of life decisions – George.

 

PHI-413V-Death and Dying Case Study – End of life decisions – George

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 acceptance of a diversity of faith expressions.

The purpose of this paper is to complete a comparative ethical analysis of George’s situation and decision from the perspective of two worldviews or religions: Christianity and a second religion of your choosing. For the second faith, choose a faith that is unfamiliar to you. Examples of faiths to choose from include Sikh, Baha’i, Buddhism, Shintoism, etc. PHI-413V-Death and Dying Case Study – End of life decisions – George

In your comparative analysis, address all of the worldview questions in detail for Christianity and your selected faith. Refer to Chapter 2 of Called to Care for the list of questions. Once you have outlined the worldview of each religion, begin your ethical analysis from each perspective. PHI-413V-Death and Dying Case Study – End of life decisions – George.

In a minimum of 1,500-2,000 words, provide an ethical analysis based upon the different belief systems, reinforcing major themes with insights gained from your research, and answering the following questions based on the research:

How would each religion interpret the nature of George’s malady and suffering? Is there a “why” to his disease and suffering? (i.e., is there a reason for why George is ill, beyond the reality of physical malady?). PHI-413V-Death and Dying Case Study – End of life decisions – George

In George’s analysis of his own life, how would each religion think about the value of his life as a person, and value of his life with ALS?

What sorts of values and considerations would each religion focus on in deliberating about whether or not George should opt for euthanasia? PHI-413V-Death and Dying Case Study – End of life decisions – George.

Given the above, what options would be morally justified under each religion for George and why?

Finally, present and defend your own view.

Support your position by referencing at least three academic resources (preferably from the GCU Library) in addition to the course readings, lectures, the Bible, and the textbooks for each religion. Each religion must have a primary source included. A total of six references are required according to the specifications listed above. Incorporate the research into your writing in an appropriate, scholarly manner. PHI-413V- – End of life decisions – George.

Prepare this according to the guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center. An abstract is required.

This uses a rubric. Please review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion. PHI-413V- – George.

You are required to submit this  assignment to Turnitin. Please refer to the directions in the Student Success Center. PHI-413V-Death and Dying Case Study – End of life decisions – George

 

PHI-413V-Death and Dying Case Study – End of life decisions – George Abstract

In this (2015), a gentleman in his fifties that has been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). His name is George, who lives in Oregon and is currently an attorney. He plays an active role in his son’s sport of basketball and teaches at a university. Once George understands with what he was diagnosed with, he is aware that this disease will continue to progress. Also, knowing the life expectancy for this disease can be from three to five years, but can be more than 10 years. George understands that medication could only slow down the progression of this disease and there is no cure.

Case Study on Death and Dying

Spirituality can be defined in many different ways, depending how this relates to each individuals worldviews. This can be a person’s beliefs or feelings about meaning to life and their purpose to use in providing quality care. As a healthcare professional, providing compassionate care to each patient, family member or caregiver, as well as their physical, emotional and spirituality despite how one perceives worldviews. According to Puchalski (2001), spirituality can have a strong influence to decrease mortality and increase an individual coping skills as well as recovery time. Also, spirituality can be associated by coexisting within a society and have many different beliefs that maintains different interpretations, which is known as pluralism religion (Basinger, 2015). This is more for the common good under different theories and explanations. In addition, this paper will discuss George’s ethical analysis and the comparison of two worldviews principles on religion.

Worldviews on Christian and Buddhism

As a Christian, prime reality is that God does exist, but there is also good and evil in this world. When a situation becomes difficult to understand or face, one will pray for strength, guidance and entrust one’s own belief in God’s hands. God is everywhere and one is never alone because the presents of God surrounds each individual. God is the eternal being that has the capability to preserve all things. PHI-413V-Death and Dying Case Study – End of life decisions – George. When comparing Buddhism, they do not believe that there is external God (Pope, 2007). Also, Buddhism believes that God did not create the universe and that all exists by spontaneous.

Christian’s views the world as the creation of God and even though there may be individuals that may disagree, at the end it is what one belief and understanding (Shelly & Miller, 2006). God does not close the doors on those in need, but helps open them to those who are willing to accept God into their lives. Buddhism believes that things grow from the ground, if planted and things happen when given a cause as well as a condition. In addition, for the Buddhist it is to reach a state of Nirvana as the essence of their goal (Pope, 2007).

A human being is a creation from God and is more complex than what some individuals may believe in. Each human being is created differently; each mind is unique and has their way of thinking. As a human, one must not take life for granted, be able to care for the body and spiritual need as God has intended. In Buddhism is believed that everything is always changing and nothing stays the same, which is referred to Anicca (Brannigan, 2004). In addition, people wonder what happens when one passes away. PHI-413V-Death and Dying Case Study – End of life decisions – George.

When Jesus died and he was resurrected on the third day, it is believed that life does not end, but continues on in another life. The spirit does not die, just the body that God lends an individual. The choices one makes while alive may affect their outcome in were their spirit may go. A Buddhist belief is that the transformation will occur when they confront their own demons by means of meditation practice (Pope, 2007). Buddhist refers to Anatta, which one has no soul and includes that everything that is associated with having feelings, sensations, thoughts and conscious in being human. Their goal is to reach a state of Nirvana which is considered to be the awakening or Enlightened. Therefore, the possibility for a person to know anything at all when it comes to life.

One thing is that when God created each individual, God intended them to follow his way and not the manly way. Also, when an individual attends church and actually reads the bible, then that individual will obtain the knowledge and the teaching from God. Not only does God teach an individual from good and evil, but also to make the right decision in life. For Buddhist, they ultimately express that all things are interconnected by cause and effect of all things. PHI-413V-Death and Dying Case Study – End of life decisions – George.

People can learn from right or wrong by their parents, teachers, family, their actions, and when attending church. God did not intend for an individual to be perfect; life is full of challenges and trials that are faced on a daily basis. Each individual will learn from their mistakes and attempt to not make that same mistake again. In Buddhism, when an individual lives a life in hostility to that process, they develop bad karma that can affect their quest for enlightenment. On the other hand, if one lives in peace and harmony to that process, they build up good karma that gets them closer to Nirvana (Pope, 2007).

The meaning of human history is that God has a plan for each individual and not to become discourage when faced with difficult situations. The choices an individual makes or decides can affect the outcome. Not to judge others, but to possibly guide them in the direction when they need help or just need someone to listen to them. Also, God forgives those who have done wrong in their life, when they ask. In Buddhism, the main purpose of life is to end suffering by using the Four Noble Truths, which consist of one decision making and desires as well as using the moral principles of the Eightfold path (Pope, 2007). PHI-413V-Death and Dying Case Study – End of life decisions – George. In addition, include taking into consideration of the four principles of principlism when it comes to the George’s analysis to his health.

The Four Principles

The four principles of principlism in George’s analysis when it pertains to his health concerns and through a religious perspective include the following: respect for autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficience, and justice (Lecture 5, 2015). Both religions will respect the patient with dignity. When it comes to the concerns and spirituality belief of George, they both would respect his decision to an extent. PHI-413V-Death and Dying Case Study – End of life decisions – George. Also, when faced with the decision of voluntary euthanasia, both are against it. When it comes to nonmaleficence, both religions are not to cause harm to anyone. When it comes to medication and treatment, one religion may assume the doctor is causing harm even though the doctor is attempting to lessen his pain. For beneficience, the medical professional must respect and be supportive to the patient as well as maintain his religion balance. For justice, it would not allow for George to go through with euthanasia, since neither religion agrees with that decision of taking their life before it is time to die.

Ethical Analysis

George was recently diagnosed with ALS, a disease that has no cure and will continue to deteriorate his nerve cells in his body. He would no longer be able to participate in his family’s activities. When looked upon through a Christian, George will cause him to look for guidance that has caused his Shalom to be unbalance. As a Buddhist, the value of his life would be that he has no soul. That being in this universe is considered as part of the suffering. Therefore, George looks at other options because he does not want to suffer.

He considers euthanasia, which is unacceptable in both religions. In a Christian perspective, this would be considered as murdering yourself before God has indented for you to die. PHI-413V-Death and Dying Case Study – End of life decisions – George. When looked upon through Buddhism, this is considered bad karma, since George is trying to kill himself. Since both religions look upon life as to not to do harm to self or others by means of Shalom or mediation is important to have balance.

This author personal viewpoint is through a Christian perspective. George is faced with an illness that has no cure and medications to only help so the progression of the disease. God did not want us to suffer and see our love ones watch one die a cruel death. Everyone has to think before one makes a drastic decision and fear plays a major part. Euthanasia is the same as committing suicide, just looked upon as someone helping to do the process. Case Study – End of life decisions – George.

Conclusion

The that George could make may affect him and his family for the rest of their life. One’s own spirituality care can help George face his illness. Also, as a Christian, the spiritual worldview is that not to cause harm to self or to others. To respect his body with dignity and for the health care professionals to assess the patients and families needs. Respect the patients belief and religion as well as built trust with them.

References

Basinger, D. (2015). Religious diversity (pluralism). Retrieved from           

Brannigan, M. C. (2004). Ethics Across Cultures with PowerWeb: Ethics.

Case Study. (2015). PHI-413V:  Ethical and Spiritual Decision Making in Health Care. Phoenix,  AZ: Grand Canyon University.

Lecture 5. (2015). PHI-413V:  Ethical and Spiritual Decision Making in Health Care. Phoenix,    AZ: Grand Canyon University.

Pope, A. (2007). “Is there a difference?” Iconic Images of Suffering in Buddhism and       Christianity. Janus Head10(1), 247-260.

Puchalski, C. M. (2001, October). The role of spirituality in health care. In Baylor University        Medical Center. Proceedings (Vol. 14, No 4, p. 352). Baylor University Medical Center.

Shelly, J. A., & Miller, A. B. (2006). Called to care: A Christian worldview for nursing (2nd ed).  Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic. PHI-413V-Death and Dying Case Study – End of life decisions – George.

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