Should the physician allow Mike to continue making decisions that seem to him to be irrational and harmful to James, or would that mean a disrespect of a patient’s autonomy? Explain your rationale.

Benchmark – patient’s spiritual needs: case analysis

Part I: Autonomy & Respect. It is important that healthcare professionals respect the autonomy and choices made by patients. However, in situations where the patient’s choices may cause harm to themselves or others, the healthcare provider has an ethical obligation to intervene. In this case, it is evident that Mike’s decision to forego medical intervention for James, who is gravely ill, is harmful and may result in James’s death. As such, the physician cannot allow Mike to continue making irrational decisions, and instead, must engage in conversations with Mike to explore his reasons for refusing medical intervention and identify alternative interventions that align with James’s best interests.

Part 2: The Christian Worldview on Health and Sickness. A Christian worldview acknowledges that illness and disease can be attributed to sin. Christians also believe in miracles, prayer and healing. Christians acknowledge, however that God gave humans the power to make medical interventions that could alleviate suffering. Christians, therefore, believe in utilizing medical interventions while also trusting in God’s will for their lives.

Mike as a Christian should not only rely upon prayer but should look into medical intervention for James. He should reason that God has given medical professionals the knowledge and tools to treat illnesses, and not utilizing them would be disregarding God’s gift of knowledge. In honoring the principles of beneficence and non-maleficence, Mike should consider medical interventions as they are aimed at benefiting James’s well-being and preventing harm.

Part 3: Spiritual Needs Assessment A spiritual needs assessment can help healthcare providers identify patients’ spiritual needs and beliefs and provide appropriate interventions. In this case, a spiritual needs assessment can assist the physician in understanding Mike’s spiritual beliefs and the role of prayer in his decision-making process. This knowledge will help the physician engage in conversations with Mike that consider his spiritual beliefs, concerns, and values, and incorporate them into James’s care plan. The spiritual needs assessment will also help identify interventions that support the family’s spiritual and emotional well-being, such as counseling and pastoral care.

American Nurses Association. (2015). With interpretive statements, code of ethics and codes for nurses. Silver Spring MD: American Nurses Association. Butts, J. B., & Rich, K. L. (2018). Theories and concepts for advanced nursing practice. Jones & Bartlett Learning. Shelly, J. A., & Miller, A. B. (2006). Called to Care: A Christian Worldview for Nursing (2nd Ed.). InterVarsity Press.

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