End of Life Decisions/ Death and Dying Case study
End of Life Decisions/ Death and Dying Case study
Case Study on Death and Dying
Death and the process of dying is a very difficult and unpleasant part of life, yet an inevitable part of life. Death is normally associated with some deep philosophical and religious connotations. Euthanasia refers to the practice of ending the life of a very sick person in order to relieve them the suffering. Euthanasia is a contentious issue in bioethics and it is viewed differently in Christianity and philosophically (Saybey, 2016). The purpose of this paper is to provide an analysis of George’s case study. George had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) diagnosis. ALS is a degenerative disease that leads to loss of the ability to speak, eat, move, breath, and the patient finally dies. Specifically, the imminent death for George and the option of euthanasia, according to the Christian view will be analyzed. End of Life Decisions/ Death and Dying Case study.
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George’s Suffering in Light of the Christian Narrative & The Fallenness of the World
In Christianity, the fallenness of the world and suffering are closely connected. The fallenness of the world started when Adam and Eve were put in the garden of Eden by God. Eve and Adam were taking care of God’s creation. They both enjoyed everything for free and they did not suffer in any way, until when they tasted the forbidden fruit and they were chased from Eden. As a result, God separated Himself from humankind and this is was the start of the fallenness of the world. As per the Christian narrative, the beginning of the suffering for mankind was the fallenness of the world (Shelly & Miller, 2009). A curse was declared upon mankind that would have to work to get food. Accordingly, the suffering among the humankind is a curse from God. End of Life Decisions/ Death and Dying Case study.
Similarly, as per the narrative of the fallenness of the world, George can associate his suffering with being sinful because sin is the main cause of suffering among human beings. Humankind keeps sinning continually and falling short of the will of God. Therefore, George can compare his suffering as being the consequences of his sinful nature, as a human being. Human beings do not like experiencing God’s curse, that God declared in the Garden of Eden after Eve and Adam disobeyed Him (Shelly & Miller, 2009). End of Life Decisions/ Death and Dying Case study. George can thus find the consolation in that suffering is inherent for every human being because all have sinned against God.
Interpretation of George’s Suffering in Light of the Christian Narrative
Christians believe that everything was created by God and Jesus was sent on earth by God to represent God and enable humanity to feel and experience God through him. Thus, as a Christian, George would construe his sickness as being the will of GOD. According to Saybey (2016), such as being experienced by George is meant to bring people closer to God and make humans understand the suffering Christ experienced. The death of Jesus changes the whole experience of death. Even though death as per the worldview, is evil and tragic, Jesus was able to defeat death on the cross.
In the Christian narrative, death is thus a defeated enemy. Humanity will conquer when Jesus comes back as all people who died in Christ will resurrect. The Christian God is always providing redemption and similarly will redeem and save humanity from death. Therefore, human beings should remain close to God and always follow God’s teachings. End of Life Decisions/ Death and Dying Case study. Viewing suffering as God’s will assists Christians to remain steadfast in their Faith, making the Christian faith stronger. When Christians believe that suffering is because of their sins, a person gets an opportunity to repent and turn their back to the sinful life, and their face towards God (Shelly & Miller, 2009). God is very methodical and orderly as He allows human beings to experience suffering to make them stop sinning in order to experience the love of God. Even if there are people who may perceive their suffering as punishment from God, this also indicates that God greatly loves human beings because He comes with ways to encourage humans to lead their lives as per God’s purpose.
The end result is that even after death, Christians still have the hope of resurrection the same way Jesus defeated death and resurrected. Therefore, this reasoning can help George to reassess his life, repent, and go back to God and have faith that all the suffering he might experience will cease after dying (Shelly & Miller, 2009). After repentance, George has the hope of defeating death through resurrection when Christ comes for those who died in Him. End of Life Decisions/ Death and Dying Case study.
How the Christian Worldview Inform George’s View about the Value of His Life as a Person?
As per the Christian worldview, even when he is suffering from ALS, George is supposed to perceive his life as a priceless gift from God, and thus only God has the authority and right to take away a human life. Therefore, even with the fatal and unbearable disease, George is supposed to endure the suffering and pain that comes with the disease just like Christ did (Shelly & Miller, 2009). The agonizing experiences like the ones George is undergoing are not supposed to make people decide to end their lives. Christians believe that people should uphold their faith even when undergoing unbearable suffering.
Even in the face of an incapacitating and devastating disease such as ALS, George remains a valuable human being in God’s eyes. Even in sickness, the life of George is still priceless and a gift from the Almighty and there are good reasons why God allowed George to suffer from ALS. George should, therefore, try to understand God’s teachings through his sickness and use his condition and the teaching to further glorify God. As per Christian worldview, George ought to continue enduring his current suffering while respecting the fact that life is sacred and God-given and thus a very priceless and valuable gift (Saybey, 2016) End of Life Decisions/ Death and Dying Case study.
Values and Considerations the Christian Worldview Focus on in Deliberating about Whether or Not George Should opt for Euthanasia
The values the Christian worldview to consider when making a decision if George should undergo euthanasia or not, is the suffering is inherent in the life of human beings and the same way Jesus suffered, people ought to accept suffering and let the will of God to happen, just like Jesus did (Shelly & Miller, 2009). When Jesus was crucified on the cross, he suffered immensely before he died and he even asked God to take away the suffering He was experiencing if it was His will. It is, therefore, the will of God for George to experience the current disease, and thus George should accept the suffering and ask God to provide him with the strength to carry on. Moreover, since God sometimes uses suffering to bring human beings closer to Him, George should try to figure out God’s teachings through his sickness (Meilaender, 2013).
The belief of life after death is a major determining factor in how an individual views imminent death (Meilaender, 2013). Christianity views pain and death as the will of God and the resurrection of Jesus as the hope that there is life after death. Therefore, George is supposed to perceive his life and sickness as the will of God over his life. God is the giver of life and only He should take away George’s life.
Options that Would be Morally Justified in the Christian Worldview for George and Why
The option that is morally justified for George as per the Christian worldview is for him to continue bearing the suffering and continue living until when God decides to take away the pain and suffering through death. Accordingly, the Christian worldview does not support euthanasia as an option. Life is a gift from God and thus euthanasia equates to interfering with God’s plans for a human being and this is both morally wrong and unacceptable in Christianity. Suffering is also inherent for all human beings, being even Jesus suffered immensely while on earth so euthanasia is not an option for any suffering Christian (Shelly & Miller, 2009).
My Decision if in George’s Situation
Despite being a Christian, in case I was experiencing George’s suffering from a very painful and disabling disease like ALS, I would consider the option of voluntary euthanasia. Euthanasia is against the teachings of Christianity; however, as a nurse, I witness patients experiencing so much suffering especially when facing terminal diseases. Accordingly, I would not want to undergo such pain and suffering in the face of unavoidable death in the option of euthanasia is available. The Bible indicates that God is very forgiving and understanding and hence no sin is unforgivable, including euthanasia.
From Christian’s perspective, life is a priceless gift from God and only the creator should take away life. Suffering is a part and parcel of a human being and God uses suffering to bring humanity closer to him and make them turn away from sin. From the Christian perspective, George ought to accept his disease condition and the ensuing suffering as God’s will and try to figure out what God is teaching him through the sickness. In Christianity, euthanasia is a morally wrong option for George. End of Life Decisions/ Death and Dying Case study.
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.
End of Life Decisions/ Death and Dying Case study
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 End of Life Decisions/ Death and Dying Case study 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.
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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. End of Life Decisions/ Death and Dying Case study.
In a minimum of 1,500-2,000 End of Life Decisions/ Death and Dying Case study 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?)
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? v.
What sorts of values and considerations would each religion focus on in deliberating about whether or not George should opt for euthanasia?
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.
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 ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), 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. End of Life Decisions/ Death and Dying Case study.
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 three and five 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. End of Life Decisions/ Death and Dying Case study.
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. End of Life Decisions/ Death and Dying Case study.
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. End of Life Decisions/ Death and Dying Case study