PHI-413 Case Study End Of Life Decisions

Case Study: End of Life Decisions

George is a successful attorney in his mid-fifties. He is also a legal scholar, holding a teaching post at the local university law school in Oregon. George is also actively involved in his teenage son’s basketball league, coaching regularly for their team. Recently, George has experienced muscle weakness and unresponsive muscle coordination. He was forced to seek medical attention after he fell and injured his hip. After an examination at the local hospital following his fall, the attending physician suspected that George may be showing early symptoms for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a degenerative disease affecting the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. The week following the initial examination, further testing revealed a positive diagnosis of ALS.

ALS is progressive and gradually causes motor neuron deterioration and muscle atrophy to the point of complete muscle control loss. There is currently no cure for ALS, and the median life expectancy is between 3 and 4 years, though it is not uncommon for some to live 10 or more years. The progressive muscle atrophy and deterioration of motor neurons leads to the loss of the ability to speak, move, eat, and breathe. However, sight, touch, hearing, taste, and smell are not affected. Patients will be wheelchair bound and eventually need permanent ventilator support to assist with breathing.

George and his family are devastated by the diagnosis. George knows that treatment options only attempt to slow down the degeneration, but the symptoms will eventually come. He will eventually be wheelchair bound and be unable to move, eat, speak, or even breathe on his own.

In contemplating his future life with ALS, George begins to dread the prospect of losing his mobility and even speech. He imagines his life in complete dependence upon others for basic everyday functions and perceives the possibility of eventually degenerating to the point at which he is a prisoner in his own body. Would he be willing to undergo such torture, such loss of his own dignity and power? George thus begins inquiring about the possibility of voluntary euthanasia.

 

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 study materials 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?
How would George interpret his suffering in light of the Christian narrative, with an emphasis on the hope of resurrection?
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 study materials.

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

 

Case Study on Death and Dying

Introduction

Death and dying are a very challenging and bitter part of life, yet the reality of life. The nature of death generally involved deep religious and philosophical questions. Euthanasia is a controversial issue in bioethics (Saybey, 2016). Christian and worldview view death and aspects such as euthanasia differently. This paper will analyze the case study of George, who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a degenerative disease where the patient eventually loses the ability to speak, move, eat, and breathe, and finally dies. The paper will specifically analyze George’s imminent death and the ethics involved in euthanasia as per Christianity perspective.

 

George’s suffering in light of the Christian narrative, with an emphasis on the fallenness of the world

In Christianity, suffering, and fallenness of the world go hand in hand. This began when God put Eve and Adam in the Garden of Eden where both cared for and nurtured God’s creating. Eve and Adam ate freely and did not experience any suffering until they tasted the fruit that God had warned them against, and this made them be chased from the garden of Eden (Shelly & Miller, 2009). This is where the fallenness of the world began and God separated himself from Eve and Adam following their sinning. Accordingly, according to the Christian narrative, the fallenness of the world was the beginning point of human suffering (Shelly & Miller, 2009). God pronounced a curse upon Eve and Adam and told them they would have to toil to get food. Therefore, human suffering is a curse from God and from that period, life changed.

Therefore, George can link his suffering to being a sinner since God declared sinning as the key cause of suffering. As human beings, we keep sinning from time to time, and often we fall short of God’s will. This can be comparable to the case of George. George might justify his suffering to the sinful nature of human beings (Shelly & Miller, 2009).  As human beings, we never like being subjected to the curse of God because we rejected God first at the Garden of Eden from the start. Human beings have corrupted everything God has given to humanity, and hence human beings served God’s judgment and the suffering that come with the judgment. Therefore, George can console himself in the words that every human being has sinned against God and thus it is expected to suffer (Shelly & Miller, 2009).

 

How would George interpret his suffering in light of the Christian narrative, with an emphasis on the hope of resurrection?

In Christianity, it is believed that God created everything existing in the world and Jesus came to earth to enable human beings to have a view of God’s image. Therefore, a Christian would interpret what is happening to George as being the will of God. According to Saybey (2016) suffering such as the one George is experiencing are only intended to bring human beings close to God and to make humans ware of Christ’s suffering. The Christian teachings that Jesus died basically changes the view and experience of death. Death is a tragedy and evil, but Jesus conquered death on the cross.  Therefore, death as a defeated enemy in the Christian narrative, human beings also have hope of defeating death and rising again when Christ comes back. The god of Christian is constantly redeeming what is broken and will also redeem human beings from death. This teaches human beings to be close to God and live according to His will. Perceiving suffering as the will of good helps Christians in remaining steadfast in their Christian beliefs, and this makes their Christian faith stronger (Shelly & Miller, 2009). If a Christian believes that suffering may be as a result of the sins of the past, this can give one a chance to repent the sins and go back to God. This indicates that God is an orderly God because He allows suffering to human beings to make them turn back from their sinful ways and experience God’s love. Even though some human beings may view their suffering as a punishment, it is still an indication that God has such a great love for humanity and encourages people to live according to God’s purpose. However, the bottom line is that even after death, Christians have the hope of resurrecting just as Jesus did. These reasons can assist George to evaluate his life and repent and at the same time believe that God has forgiven his sins and his suffering will end after death (Shelly & Miller, 2009). After repenting, George also has the hope that resurrecting again once Christ comes back for the church.

 

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?

According to the Christian worldview, even in the midst of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), George should view his life as precious and a gift from God, and hence it should not be taken away by a human being, but God.  Accordingly, even with this agonizing disease, George is expected to endure pain and all experiences associated with the disease (Shelly & Miller, 2009). A painful experience such as the one George is experiencing should not make a person make a decision to end their lives. In Christianity, people believe that human beings are supposed to hold on to their faith even during painful sufferings.  George is still a valuable human being even in the face of a disabling and devastating disease like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Life is a precious gift from God and since then sin entered the world, suffering is part of everyone’s life.  Therefore, George’s life is still valuable to God and God has a reason why he allowed George to experience amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). George should try to figure out what God is trying to teach him with the disease and use his current condition and life, for the glory of God. Therefore, George should continue persevering the suffering in the virtue of respecting life and Christian’s teaching regarding the value of life, as being God’s precious gift (Saybey, 2016).

 

What sorts of values and considerations would the Christian worldview focus on in deliberating about whether or not George should opt for euthanasia?

The kind of values that the Christian worldview would focus on in deciding regarding is George should opt for euthanasia or not include that suffering is part of life and just like Christ suffered we should accept suffering (Shelly & Miller, 2009). Jesus died on the cross and before His death, he underwent significant suffering and at some point, asked God if it is His will, He should take away the cup of suffering. Therefore, George’s suffering is God’s will and therefore, he should accept the suffering and ask God for sufficient grace to be able to endure the suffering. In addition, God uses suffering to bring humanity closer to Him and make them repent for their sins. Accordingly, George should use the suffering to discover what God wants him to learn and get closer to God (Meilaender, 2013).

As per Meilaender (2013), expectations about life after death largely determine the way an individual welcomes the probability of death. If Christians view everything and especially suffering and death as per God’s will and the final hope of life after death and Jesus’ resurrection, this can assure a person that God is in control of everything. In this regard, George should view his life and sickness and God’s working in his life and being His will. Moreover, God has a purpose for our lives regardless of the suffering and only God is the giver of life.

 

Given the above, what options would be morally justified in the Christian worldview for George and why?

The morally justified option would be for George to continue living until God takes away his life. Therefore, euthanasia is not an option for George according to the Christian’s view. According to Christianity, human life is precious and a gift from God and hence taking human life and interfering with the process of God is unacceptable and morally wrong. In addition, Christian views suffering as part and parcel of life and also the plan of God and thus it is morally wrong to interfere with the plan of God (Shelly & Miller, 2009). Therefore, suffering and pain of a terminally ill person should be accepted by Christians just as Christ accepted his suffering on the cross.

My Decision if in George’s Situation?

Even though I am a Christian, if I was in George’s situation and facing the imminent suffering and disability associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), I would consider voluntary euthanasia.  Even though voluntary euthanasia is against Christianity, it is difficult to watch individuals suffer as a nurse and personally I would not want to experience such pain and suffering if there is an option of euthanasia (President’s Commission, 1981). Even if it is not morally right to choose euthanasia, the Bible states that God is forgiving and there is no single sin that cannot be forgiven.

Conclusion

Christianity views life as a gift from God and only God has the power to take away life. Suffering is part of life and God’s plan to bring his creation close to Him. A human being should, therefore, accept suffering and similarly, George should accept the suffering that comes with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Therefore, according to Christianity, it is not morally upright for George to consider voluntary euthanasia.

 

References

Meilaender G. (2013). Bioethics: A Primer for Christians, 3rd Edition. Michigan: Eerdmans.

Saybey B. (2016). Definitions of death: brain death and what matters in a person. J Law Biosci. 3(3), 743–752.

Shelly J & Miller A. (2009). Called to Care: A Christian Worldview for Nursing 2nd Edition, Illinois: IVP Academic.

The United States. President’s Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine and Biomedical and Behavioral Research (1981). Defining death: a report on the medical, legal and ethical issues in the determination of death.