PHI 413 Case Study on Death and Dying
PHI 413 Case Study on Death and Dying
Nurses and healthcare workers need to understand different components of various religions in the world and their practices as well as their effects on patients in their healthcare settings. The Christian worldview is an essential perspective that has diverse values, norms and beliefs which influence decisions among patients on the kind of interventions that they select for their disease conditions. terminal conditions like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis present delicate situations leading to contemplation of decisions and interventions that can have lifelong effects on individuals, their families and even society. In this assignment, the paper focuses on the case of George, a 50-year-old attorney recently diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and contemplates euthanasia to alleviate the worse conditions and symptoms of the disease in its later stages. The paper uses a Christian worldview to understand how Christians would handle such a situation and what George ought to do based on these teachings.
Healthcare workers (HCWs) especially nurses, need to understand the different approaches by diverse religious practices and beliefs as patients use them when undergoing care, particularly in end of life decisions when diagnosed with terminal illnesses like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) condition. Spirituality and religion inform the type of decisions and approaches that patients can take when diagnosed with these conditions (Hammer & McPhee, 2018). Imperatively, nurses and other healthcare workers should be aware of the beliefs and practices to help patients deal with their diagnoses. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the case of George, a successful attorney recently diagnosed with ALS, a degenerative disease that leads to failure of the entire nerve system and incapacitates a person. The analysis discusses the case in relation to Christian biblical accounts of fallenness of the world, hope of resurrection and value of his life as a person. The analysis also incorporates the concept of euthanasia and a personal reflection over the case.
Interpretation of Suffering in Light of Christian Narrative on the Fallenness of the World
The biblical narrative account entails four aspects that include creation, fall of mankind because of the original sin’s commission, hope of resurrection and redemption through Jesus Christ. The Christian narrative asserts that man committed the Original Sin leading to his fall in Garden of Eden. Fallenness happened because of man’s disobedience and is responsible for the evil and suffering that occur in the world. God pronounced suffering that entails short lifespan and encounter with different disease conditions like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) that George has been diagnosed with in this case. (Hammer & McPhee, 2018). Suffering came to the world to demonstrate to man that God controls all aspects of his life and he should submit to him. George should interpret his suffering based on the biblical account as man is bound to endure difficult moments due to his disobedience. Fallnness of the world entails George understanding that the world is full of suffering and evil, and that human beings face these afflictions due to natural causes as well as a chance to allow God to manifest in their suffering.
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George needs to interpret the present situation as a result of the man’s fall from favor with God as disease conditions are part of his living. George should consider the condition as a sign that worldly wealth and success does not equate to God’s plan for any individual. Therefore, Christians believe that suffering strengths one’s faith and manifests God’s immense care and concern for humanity (Kurtén, 2018). George should view his condition as not unique but a chance to get close to God and accept his power while appreciating that he can do very little. George may perceive his suffering as a form of punishment from God for sins committed, either by him or his family and seek redemption through penance to get God’s grace and mercy.
Interpretation of Suffering with Emphasis on the Hope of Resurrection
Based on the Christian narrative, Jesus Christ’s death and subsequent rise through resurrection means that man shall overcome difficulties and challenges, including death, as He did. Christians believe that suffering is a critical component of life and demonstrates one’s resolve to remain faithful despite their situation. George’s suffering due to ALS illustrates the many incidences where different people have suffered, even in the bible like Abraham and Job as well as Jesus Christ, the son of God. Therefore, Christians perceive suffering as a way of attaining God’s glory and blessing like the biblical persons such as Job who suffered from a dreaded skin disease to the point of losing everything in life (Vasylieva et al., 2021). Christians consider suffering as a moment for one to raise their hope and faith in God. Christians also advance that suffering ensures that they deepen their faith and focus on God to help them overcome such events in life (Liégeois, 2022). As such, George should hope for the day when God will deliver him from the current situation. George should not tire away from hoping that despite its delicate and degenerative nature, ALS can be defeated and offer him a chance to lead a quality life.
Moreover, George needs to hope for resurrection, even if he dies due to the condition. Consequently, the hope of resurrection implores George to wait upon God to determine if he dies or recovers from the illness. Christians believe that hope is a certainty and not a wish and thus it is just a matter of time before its fulfilment (Kurtén, 2018). Through hope, believers endure trials and temptations and emerge victorious at their last point. Jesus Christ resurrected from the dead after suffering at the hands of evil people. Therefore, George should know that God allows people to suffer, not because He has forsaken them but because he believes that they will triumph after their tribulations. George should perceive his current condition as a pathway to death and eventually bodily resurrection in the same manner as Christ suffered. He should hope for a better future despite the current suffering as it is only but temporary.
Christian Worldview about the Value of Life as a Person
The Christian worldview is categorical that life is a sacred gift from God and that it should be cherished by all people irrespective of their life conditions. The Christian worldview advances that God gives life and it begins at conception. God created human beings in his image based on the concept of Imago Dei and all should consider themselves as resembling him, irrespective of their socioeconomic backgrounds. People should value their inherent dignity and intrinsic worth despite their prevailing conditions. In this case, despite having the ALS and with limited time for his life, George should value his life as a person because it is a sacred and precious gift from God (Vasylieva et al., 2021). He should always remember that his life, even when he will be incapacitated, is sacred and only God can determine his fate. George should endure the pain of his condition and never contemplate taking drastic actions like euthanasia, which he is actively contemplating to avoid any degenerative situation that will require him to get assistance in doing all things.
George must consider his inherent dignity as a human being with intrinsic value for his life. Ge needs to understand that God has a purpose for him. His decisions and choices should be based on the inherent purpose that God wants for his life. George must not think of euthanasia as a means to an end to reduce and prevent his suffering. The Christian worldview is categorical that suffering is an involuntary aspect of one’s life and one cannot avoid or prevent it but only endure its occurrence (Grove et al., 2022). Christians view suffering as God’s intention on humanity because of their sins and as a means to manifest his wonders to people (Liégeois, 2022). Therefore, George should consider his life as valuable and suffering as a just aspect that God uses to enhance his endurance and showing of miracles. The suffering that he faces today is a test of his faith that will allow him to overcome difficulties and fulfill God’s purpose for his life. George should seek care approaches that will improve his quality of life instead of contemplating euthanasia as it is against God’s purpose and intention of human life. Such holistic care approaches will allow him to maximize his current condition and provide hope to his family for the limited time he is left with in the world.
Values and Considerations Based on Christian Worldview in Contemplation of Euthanasia
Different Christian values inform healthcare practices associated with end-of-life care offered to individuals like George based on his condition. These include dignity, love, compassion, and caring. Dignity advances that human beings have inherent intrinsic value because they are created in God’s image and deserve honor and respectful treatment as well as care. Dignity gives value to human life yet euthanasia does not consider since it advances that life is not worthy living when one has a dreaded condition. Based on scientific view and cognitive properties theory, George may feel that he is not worth living in this world because of his condition (Vasylieva et al., 2021). Ethical nursing practice upholds dignity as a critical value based on the professional code of conduct by the American Nurses Association (ANA). Nurses should offer care to George by considering his dignity and allow him to make decisions that are logic and not irrational. An appropriate approach for George would entail provision of comfort and encouragement through palliative care to improve his quality of life.
Additionally, George should consider the values of love and compassion. Compassion is a critical emotional aspect which focuses on making patients endure their suffering by providing hope and relieving their pain and anguish (Liégeois, 2022). This entails being kind, caring and helpful to allow them navigate the pain and hopelessness associated with disease conditions. In this case, George should focus on getting medications to relieve the effects of ALS and care focused on improving his life as he awaits any eventuality. Euthanasia does not show any compassion and robs one of the ability to attain recovery in such situations (Borovecki et al., 2022). While it may eliminate suffering, it does not show love as the family fails to get the chance to be with their loved one to the last moment. The Christian worldview considers euthanasia as murder which the Ten Commandments forbid because it is against the value of love. George should consider how he can get compassionate care and spend the remaining time with his young family as a sign of his love for them. He should never contemplate euthanasia.
Morally Justified Options Based on the Christian Worldview for George
Christians endure suffering as a testimony of what Jesus went through before attaining victory in his life. Christians believe that encountering suffering is an involuntary part of life and individuals should be willing to do so because such actions form the basis for strong faith in God (Kurtén, 2018). Therefore, the morally justified options for George include enduring the suffering, seeking sufficient guidelines from healthcare providers, and getting palliative care as opposed to giving in to euthanasia.
George should know that his suffering is God-given and there is a reason for it. He needs to know that ending his life through euthanasia is an unacceptable thing before God and it is murder. Moral uprightness values the dignity of an individual irrespective of their situation and physical fitness (Grove et al., 2022). George should seek holistic care and submit to available medical interventions, especially palliative care to improve his quality of life through relieving the pain and suffering that he has now. George should consider compassionate holistic care so that he can improve his condition before his demise. He should pray and engage religious counsel from different people and live positively with his condition as opposed to euthanasia.
Decision if in George’s Situation
George’s situation is not only devastating but also harrowing and delicate. While the ALS diagnosis is terminal and degenerative, one can improve their quality of life and even live beyond the projected timelines. The most important thing is for one to have a positive attitude and approach to the disease. However, this is not easy, especially in a situation where one loses their independence and abilities to do things for themselves. Conversely, it is a psychological and physical challenge that requires increased support and comfort before one can make up their mind and final determination (Grove et al., 2022). In this case, if I were in his situation, I would opt for palliative and compassionate care with the hope that my condition will improve. One can live with ALS even beyond the predicted timelines based on their positive attitudes. The implication is that ALS should not be a death sentence for individuals like George to contemplate suicide. He should have hope and offer even the last moments of his life to his family instead of thinking about ending his life.
The Christian worldview influence the view of Christians towards different issues, including terminal conditions and even aspects like euthanasia. God is all powerful and gives sacred and precious life to human beings. However, disease conditions happen and impact Christians and individuals’ beliefs in God’s power. The implication is that George, like Christians should endure his suffering knowing that there is hope of resurrection and triumph, even if he dies. He should not contemplate euthanasia as it violates God’s purpose and reasons for his existence.
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