Assignment: PHI 413 Case Study on Death and Dying

Assignment: PHI 413 Case Study on Death and Dying

Assignment: PHI 413 Case Study on Death and Dying

Using the Christian narrative as a lens, George interprets suffering with a focus on the fallen nature of the world.

Christians’ perceptions of pain shape their beliefs about Christians assert that there are diverse perspectives on individuals who suffer. In other words, according to Christian theology, suffering people have a specific ministry to do in God’s kingdom. The Bible teaches Christians that it is critical for people to take a higher path in life through difficult times. Furthermore, it has been made abundantly clear in the teachings that the world has failed even in the absence of pain. People are already dealing with or experiencing sickness, physiological discomfort, accidents and fatalities, as well as natural calamities, according to the text. The aforementioned lessons are commonly used to remind us of the imperfections that are inherent in human undertakings. Men are naturally born from God’s creation, as portrayed in the creation stories, which is a fault. God created the earth and placed man on it, according to the Bible (Inbadas et al., 2017). Adam’s name was Adam, and after he sinned against God and therefore brought out sin, God became enraged. As a result, Adam and his descendants, as well as the rest of creation, were cursed.

In light of the preceding story, George makes meaning of his grief. In other words, the incorrect belief caused his ongoing deadly sickness. George saw his illness as a result of a man’s shortcomings. The above-mentioned fall enraged God, resulting in the curse on Adam and Eve. George equated his anguish to God cursing Adam and all of his ancestors in the creation myth.

Week 4 Assignment Case Study on Death and Dying

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.

Assignment: 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?

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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

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?

Assignment: 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

This assignment uses a rubric. Please review the rubric
prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for
successful completion.You are required to submit this assignment to LopesWrite.
Refer to the LopesWrite Technical Support articles for assistance.

This assignment uses a rubric. Please review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion.

You are required to submit this assignment to LopesWrite. A link to the LopesWrite technical support articles is located in Class Resources if you need assistance.


End of Life and Sanctity of Life, Commentary 1

Rabbi Edward Reichman, MD

Mrs. Jones is an 82-year-old nursing home resident with a longstanding history of heart failure, who is now hospitalized in the cardiac ICU for the third time this year. She is a retired teacher, with 4 children and 8 grandchildren. She did not list a religious preference when admitted to the hospital. The attending cardiologist, Dr. Rosenberg, is a heart failure specialist, and is an active member of an Orthodox Jewish congregation.

On day 3 of her hospitalization, Mrs. Jones developed a fever, which was subsequently determined to be caused by a MRSA line infection from a venous catheter. On day 4, her renal function began steadily deteriorating, until her serum potassium reached dangerous levels.

She has been unconscious for 2 days, and, according to hospital records and her children, she has no advance directives to guide end-of-life care. Dr. Rosenberg requests a family conference with Mrs. Jones’s children (her husband is deceased) to discuss their mother’s prognosis and the appropriate next steps in treatment.

“I’m afraid that your mother’s health is steadily deteriorating,” Dr. Rosenberg tells Mrs. Jones’s family. “She has a serious infection that has failed to respond to traditional antibiotics.”

“How did she get this infection, doctor?” Mrs. Jones’s daughter Jennifer asks.

“That’s a good question. It’s likely the result of an IV line we placed during her admission,” Dr. Rosenberg replies. “Your mother’s infection is caused by a resistant strain of staphylococcus that is common in intensive care units and hospitals, but we have more aggressive antibiotics we can use. I should also tell you that her kidneys are failing, and we’ll need to begin dialysis to ensure that her electrolytes and fluid status are kept at normal levels. Despite this, I think there’s a strong possibility she’ll pull through.”

At this point, Mrs. Jones’s eldest son Franklin interrupts. “Look, doctor,” he says, “My cousin was on dialysis for years, and, until he died, he was really miserable. I don’t want my mom to have to go through that at this age. I think enough is enough. She’s been in the hospital 3 times this year alone.”

“I understand your concern,” Dr. Rosenberg says, “but you should realize that your mother may not require long-term dialysis. Her kidneys may recover, but at this stage, dialysis is the only solution left to correct her electrolyte imbalances. If we don’t lower her potassium, she’ll likely develop a fatal arrhythmia.”

Franklin looks at the rest of the family, who are shaking their heads. “Honestly, I think you shouldn’t treat her any further. Even if it’s not permanent, starting dialysis just isn’t a path we want her to start on. And the ‘aggressive antibiotics’—I don’t see any reason to pour more substances into her already tired body. It’s obviously her time to go. Can’t you just give her something to make her comfortable?”

Dr. Rosenberg pauses for a moment and then tells Franklin. “We fully intend to keep her comfortable and continue treating her pain. As you know, I’m committed to doing what’s best for your mother. But in good conscience, I can’t stop treating your mother as long as there are reasonable courses of action that I could take to preserve her life. According to the principles that guide my practice of medicine, I cannot withhold life-saving treatment from any patient—especially antibiotic therapy and temporary dialysis, both treatments with uncontroversial efficacy.”

Commentary 1

One who sustains the life of but one human being is considered as if he has saved an entire world. —Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin, 37a.

As Dr. Rosenberg invokes Jewish law in his approach to his patient, it behooves us to discuss how Jewish law would address this case.

1) Would Jewish law indeed require dialysis for Mrs. Jones?
2) If the law requires dialysis for Mrs. Jones, can Dr. Rosenberg, according to Jewish law, impose his religious beliefs on others?
3) Does it matter that this patient is not of the same faith as Dr. Rosenberg and does not subscribe to the same religious teachings?

While the voice of Orthodox Judaism is not monolithic and, indeed, a plurality of approaches within accepted boundaries is the norm, one can nevertheless distill immutable principles and values deriving from the Bible, Talmud, and legal codes, which inform the discussion and guide the decisions of rabbinic authorities. Debate and nuanced textual interpretation are hallmarks of Jewish legal discourse. While herein we discuss particulars of a fictional case, any actual case of Jewish medical ethics must be presented to the proper rabbinic authority.

A number of legal principles serve as the foundation for decisions in the field of Jewish medical ethics. One such principle is the sanctity of life and the obligation to preserve it. The concept of quality of life has different meaning in the Jewish tradition, and life, be it sentient or not, is of infinite value. This does not mean that life need be perpetuated at all times and at all cost. According to many rabbinic authorities, there are limited circumstances where specific treatments may be withheld. A full treatment of this area of law is beyond the scope of this essay, but the discussions of withholding treatment are generally restricted to patients suffering from terminal, untreatable conditions, who are enduring intractable suffering. The specific treatments that can be withheld are debated, but all agree that nutrition, hydration, and oxygen (not necessarily intubation) should be provided to all patients and are not subject to refusal. One is therefore not permitted to withhold food, even if insertion of a feeding tube is required for its delivery, as this is considered basic human sustenance to be provided to all people. Terri Schaivo, for example, according to Jewish law, would not be considered to have a lesser quality of life than this writer. She did not suffer from a terminal, incurable disease, and withholding food would clearly not have been permitted according to orthodox Jewish tradition.

Mrs. Jones’s medical condition is not discussed in great detail, but for our purposes, I will assume that Mrs. Jones has an acute, potentially reversible infection complicated by renal failure, which could theoretically be reversed with antibiotics and temporary dialysis. In such a case, Jewish law would likely require that dialysis be performed, inasmuch as Mrs. Jones would surely die without it. If Mrs. Jones were suffering from end-stage metastatic cancer and developed irreversible renal failure, a strong case could be made according to Jewish law to refrain from dialysis.

Having established that according to Jewish law dialysis would be indicated, is Dr. Rosenberg obligated, according to this same law, to impose his beliefs on others? The answer here is a decided “no.” Even if the patient were of the same faith and subscribed to his religious beliefs, Dr. Rosenberg would not be required to coerce therapy. The reason is clear from another exercise in legal analysis: American law forbids treatment against a patient’s will, and Dr. Rosenberg could theoretically receive legal, ethical, and professional censure (not to mention the criminal consequences) for violating a patient’s rights and bodily integrity. This could lead to the loss of livelihood and profession for Dr. Rosenberg, and would preclude him from assisting in the aid and treatment of future patients. Furthermore, Jewish law places great emphasis on respect for the law of the land where one lives and would disapprove of the violation of American law, with some theoretical exceptions.

As stated above, Jewish law does not require a physician to coerce therapy, if it would result in the loss of profession and livelihood. This concept applies, however, only in a situation where Dr. Rosenberg performs no Jewish-legally prohibited actions that would lead to the demise of the patient. In this case, Dr. Rosenberg is simply refraining from performing dialysis, but performs no specific action that leads to the hastening of the patient’s death. He is permitted the nonaction to preserve his profession and livelihood.

One could envision a theoretical circumstance where Dr. Rosenberg is asked to perform an action to hasten the patient’s death. For example, if the family wishes to disconnect a patient from a ventilator, that is an action which will lead to the patient’s demise. Here, too, one might argue that Dr. Rosenberg should not impose his religious beliefs on the family, and he should therefore accede to the request and disconnect the ventilator. In this case, however, Jewish law would not allow Dr. Rosenberg to disconnect the ventilator, even if his profession were at risk, because this scenario requires Dr. Rosenberg to perform a Jewish-legally prohibited act. (While one could argue that disconnecting the ventilator is not hastening death but rather allowing nature to take its course, Jewish law thinks otherwise, and focuses on the causality. This action will undoubtedly lead to the death of the patient.)

Although coercion would be out of the question according to Jewish law, Dr. Rosenberg could suggest a compromise approach, whereby he encourages the family to allow antibiotics and dialysis on a trial basis. As the antibiotic therapy and the dialysis are discrete treatments, and not continuous, as is a respirator, there would be no problem for Dr. Rosenberg, as established above, to discontinue them if the family later requested such. Indeed, if the family is told that there is a chance of recovery with this regimen, but, if it fails, they will have the option to later discontinue the treatments, there might be greater chance of agreement between Dr. Rosenberg and the family. The family may take great comfort in the assurance that all efforts were made to treat their loved one, and the possible subsequent guilt of withholding potentially life-saving treatment would be alleviated.

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