Biomedical Ethics in the Christian Narrative


Biomedical This assignment will incorporate a common practical tool in helping clinicians begin to ethically analyze a case. Organizing the data in this way will help you apply the four principles and four boxes approach. Based on the “Case Study: Healing and Autonomy” and other required topic study materials, you will complete the “Applying the Four Principles: Case Study” document that includes the following: Part 1: Chart This chart will formalize the four principles and four boxes approach and the four-boxes approach by organizing the data from the case study according to the relevant principles of biomedical ethics: autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice. Part 2: Evaluation This part includes questions, to be answered in a total of 500 words, that describe how principalism would be applied according to the Christian worldview. Remember to support your responses with the topic study materials. APA style is not required, but solid academic writing is expected. You are required to submit this assignment to LopesWrite. Refer to the LopesWrite Technical Support articles for assistance.


Biomedical Applying the Four Principles: Case Study
Part 1: Chart (60 points)

Based on the “Healing and Autonomy” case study, fill out all the relevant boxes below. Provide the information by means of bullet points or a well-structured paragraph in the box. Gather as much data as possible.

Medical Indications Beneficence and NonmaleficencePatient Preferences Autonomy
James is suffering from acute glomerulonephritis, a complication resulting from strep throat infection. High blood pressure and fluid build-up further complicate his condition, ultimately warranting temporal dialysis. While the physician explains that dialysis is the best treatment to reverse James condition, the parents felt that the dialysis would be uncomfortable for James and opted for prayers to heal this son. Ultimately, James condition deteriorated where temporary dialysis was no longer an option. He now needed kidney transplant in a year.James is a minor, and therefore not competent to make informed health care decisions. In this case, his parents are solely responsible for healthcare decision making.
Quality of Life Beneficence, Nonmaleficence, AutonomyContextual Features Justice and Fairness
The hospital has used the principles on beneficence and non-maleficence to improve James’s quality of life. After Mike and Joanne’s return to the clinic, they were forced to place James on dialysis. After regular dialysis, James was stable but still required kidney transplant. The physician actions demonstrate his efforts to improve James’s quality of life.James’s parents are relying on religion to make medical decisions. The physician should ensure that fairness and equity is maintained when treating James.
Part 2: Evaluation

Answer each of the following questions about how the four principles and four boxes approach would be applied:

  1. In 200-250 words answer the following: According to the Christian worldview, how would each of the principles be specified and weighted in this case? Explain why. (45 points)
Based on the Christian worldview, the ethical principle of beneficence holds the most weight. Beneficence is an ethical principle requiring individuals prevent harm, offer benefits, and maximize the benefits to outweigh the risks. The Christian worldview asserts that God created human beings in his image and likeness, and therefore should treat others as they would want to be treated. Christians regard life as sacred, and thus individuals should act in the best interests to maintain the dignity of human life. In the case of Mike and Joanne, the situation calls for all parties involved to save James’s life, improve his wellbeing, and quality of life. By exercising beneficence, the parents and the doctor should act in James’s interest. Non-maleficence is another ethical principle supported by the Christian worldview (Orr, 2015). Inherently, the principle encompasses abiding by actions that so not cause harm to others. In this case, this principle is weighed by comparing the benefits of providing James with a kidney transplant versus the harm or the risks involved. Autonomy also plays a fundamental role in the case of Mike and Joanne. It requires one to respect the autonomous decision making of competent individuals. The Christian worldview purports that God gave human beings the freedom to choose between right and wrong. However, human beings are not free of the consequences of their choices. The physician was obligated to respect Mike and Joanne’s decision to believe in God’s miracle to heal their son and forego dialysis. He, however, informed them that placing their son on dialysis as they prayed for a miracle was the most appropriate medical intervention to save James’s life. Justice is the last ethical principle applicable to James’s scenario. It requires that all patient cases be treated alike, equally, and with fair distribution of medical resources.
  • In 200-250 words answer the following: According to the Christian worldview, how might a Christian balance each of the four principles in this case? Explain why. (45 points)
A Christian might balance the four ethical principles by determining how each applies to the biblical narrative. The biblical narrative adopts the concept that life is God-given, and only he can take it away (Lawrence, 2007).  From this perspective, a Christian might prioritize the principles starting with beneficence, followed by non-maleficence, autonomy, and lastly justice. Through beneficence, the healthcare provider is obligated to act for the benefit of the patient. The biblical narrative encourages Christians to treat other people as finite and ensure that their actions are intended to promote good. The physician was promoting good by encouraging Mike and Joanne to place James on dialysis. It was the best option as James’s condition was acute enough to warrant immediate treatment. Non-maleficence is closely related with beneficence, as it focuses on refraining from actions that cause harm. The physician’s decision to place James under dialysis was for the patient’s best interest and was not intended to cause harm. A Christian might rank autonomy third, given that God gave man a free will. The Christian teachings hold that physicians should support decisions made by patients, after giving them all necessary medical information required to make an autonomous decision. Respecting the opinions of others, even after disagreeing with them, is a critical tenet in the Christian worldview. Lastly, the ethical principle of justice least applies to this case. It asserts that all humans are equal before God and should therefore be treated equally.  


Lawrence, D. (2007). The Four Principles of Biomedical Ethics: A Foundation for Current Bioethical Debate. Journal Of Chiropractic Humanities, 14, 34-40. doi: 10.1016/s1556-3499(13)60161-8

Orr, R. D. (2015). Incorporating spirituality into patient care. AMA journal of ethics, 17(5), 409-415.

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