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PHI 413V Discussion: Biomedical Ethics in the Christian Narrative

PHI 413V Discussion: Biomedical Ethics in the Christian Narrative

Part 1: Chart

Medical Indications

Beneficence and Nonmaleficence

In order to make a diagnosis and determine treatment options, there is a need to assess medical indications exhibited by a patient. Beneficence refers to a health professional acting with best intentions to provide care to patients whereas non-beneficence encourages care providers not to do harm (Gillon, 2018). As per the case study, the surrogates of James acted in the best interest of the patient even the medical condition of James would still be worse even when treated.

Patient Preferences


Autonomy refers to the right of patients to express their choice or make a decision of care yet to be administered to them (Gillon, 2018). Even though James is an underage child, his right to autonomy must be upheld. The parents ought to have consulted the patient before making a decision on care.  The physician had limited influence to alter the decisions made by the parents.

Quality of Life

Beneficence, Nonmaleficence, Autonomy

In the healthcare setting, quality of life entail the medical features of a patient after a therapy has been administered (Gillon, 2018). As per the case study, the health condition of James was worst but improved significantly after dialysis. Conversely, the patient needs a renal replacement therapy involving a kidney transplant to improve the quality of his life. His brother can donate to him his kidney but his father has an opinion to rely on faith regarding the health status of James. The parents, however, should consult James regarding the issue because the last time they relied on faith his condition worsened (Gillon, 2018). The parents should act in the best interest so that the brother can donate the kidney to optimize the quality of health for James.

Contextual Feature

Justice and Fairness

Medical decision can greatly be influenced by familial and social factors as well as legal considerations. In the case study, James’ parents relied on faith when making decision for the health status of their son (Gillon, 2018). They focused more on religious beliefs for healing rather than receiving kidney from his bother. However, the conflict of interest arose when there was a mismatch of cells between James and his brother meaning that the latter could not donate his kidney. This made the parents were therefore willing to donate the kidney and even appealed for the goodwill of well-wishers to offer this vital organ.



Part 2: Evaluation

Four Principles most Pressing according to Christian worldview

In the Christian perspectives, beneficence emerge as the principle with the most pressing issue pertaining to the health of a patient. The argument is guided by the premise that James’ parents made decision in the interest of their ailing son. They blindly believed that James would be healed with the support from their daily prayers (SSorajjakool et al., 2017). In this context, the parents relied more on prayers rather than providing kidney to support the life of James. Other than medical support, the parents had faith that prayers also work. No one can criticize their approach and perception in life considering that they made attempts to address the health of their son despite his deteriorating health (Hubbell, Kauschinger & Oermann, 2017). They were also against the idea about the brother donating one of his kidneys to the ailing James. All these actions affirm that the parents cared for the health status of their children. In fact, when the health status of James deteriorated while receiving homecare, they took him back to the care facility for further examination. With this, the parents aimed at addressing the health of their son despite wrong decisions that they sometimes made with regard to his care.

How a Christian might rank the Priority of the Four Principles

In an approach of health, a Christian can give priority to the four principles by starting with beneficence as it is based on one’s goodwill regarding the health of others. According to Christian teachings, parents need to provide love to their children and this is consistent with the principle of beneficence (SSorajjakool et al., 2017). The second priority goes to nonmaleficence which points as doing no harm to patients. Christian parents should not intend or initiate activities that harm their children. The principle is based on the Christian teaching that human life is sacred and that it should be protected by everyone. Justice and fairness are ranked the third as they ensure that health service delivery is provided without preferential treatment to anyone. In Christian teaching, every human being is equal before God and this should be demonstrated during provision of care. The last ranking on the list will be autonomy which ensures that patients make decisions on medical services provided to them. Christians need to allow their patients to choose their option of care and this decision must be respected (Hubbell, Kauschinger & Oermann, 2017). The premise ensures that the dignity of every person is upheld so that one receives quality service to improve on their well-being.


Gillon, R. (2018). Principlism, virtuism, and the spirit of oneness. In Healthcare Ethics, Law and Professionalism (pp. 45-59). Routledge.

Hubbell, S. L., Kauschinger, E., & Oermann, M. (2017). Development and Implementation of an Educational Module to Increase Nurses’ Comfort With Spiritual Care in an Inpatient Setting. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing48(8), 358-364.

SSorajjakool, S., Carr, M. F., Nam, J. J., Sorajjakool, S., & Bursey, E. (2017). World religions for healthcare professionals. Routledge.

PHI 413V Discussion: Biomedical Ethics in the Christian Narrative


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Hello Truth!

I agree with your ordering of principles. Especially Justice. I think that Justice should be “listed” last, as this society has become overly justice-oriented. We, in America, have a very litigious way of thinking. Everything gets settled with a lawsuit, rather than talking things out, admitting we were wrong, and making amends. I also put beneficence first, because I think our society has forgotten how to teach our children to think of others first. To do things for others without expecting anything in return. I see it every day with the “Me first! Me first!” mentation. Not giving consideration to someone who is driving a little slower, maybe because they are lost or in an unfamiliar place; or not letting others merge into traffic, but plowing right past them, or stopping for people to cross the street. I know this is all traffic-oriented scenarios, but I think they really represent the bigger picture of where our focus is at in society.


Mary-Korine Insunsa

Sep 14, 2022, 7:45 PM


The four core principles are beneficial, nonmaleficence, respect for autonomy, and justice. “It is important and necessary for anyone involved in medical ethics to understand the use of the four principles approach to biomedical ethics, not because it is the only framework used for medical ethics, as there are several others, but because of its near universal influence and status in modern-day medical ethics discussions, in hospital ethics committees, and in managed care.” (Hoehner, 2018).

Respect for autonomy is first since it promotes independence decision making and opportunity of making decisions for one’s care. Second would be non-maleficence which is due no harm to others. This is especially true to protect patients and to follow our critical thinking skills to avoid harming them. Third would be principle of beneficence, this requires us healthcare workers to prevent harm to others, provide benefits, and balance those benefits against risk and cost. Last would be justice, because it depends on all three principals. It requires the fair distribution of benefits, risk, and costs to a general population. (Hoehner, 2018).

In the Bible I believe respect for autonomy would still be first. God make us in his image and gave us the power to free think. Second, I believe would be beneficence which is the act of doing good for others. In the Bible many teachings are to do good for others. Third nonmaleficence to not do harm to other. Last justice, the biblical narrative of creation affirms that there is a creation order, and everything is supposed to be and how everything is out to be (Grand Canyon, 2020).

Grand Canyon University (Ed). (2020). Practicing dignity: An introduction to Christian values and decision making in health care. https://lc.gcumedia.com/phi413v/practicing-dignity-an-introduction-to-christian-values-and-decision-making-in-health-care/v1.1/#/home


Hoehner, P. J. (2020). Biomedical Ethics in the Christian Narrative. Practicing dignity: An introduction to Christian values and decision making in Health Care.https://lc.gcumedia.com/phi413v/practicing-dignity-an-introduction-to-christian-values-and-decision-making-in-health-care/v1.1/#/chapter/3


Hi Mary,

You bring up some important points regarding the principle of autonomy. For you, this principle should be first among the others. Can you think of any case studies, however, where the principle of autonomy is ranked below the other principles? Some will argue, for example, that the principle of justice comes before autonomy when dealing with vaccinations (watch this video for a case study). In these cases, one might highlight the risks faced by the general public when individuals refuse vaccinations. Do you think this is a situation where autonomy shouldn’t be given priority? If not, are there any other situations where autonomy isn’t given priority?

Topic 3 DQ 1


 The four principles, especially in the context of bioethics in the United States, has often been critiqued for raising the principle of autonomy to the highest place, such that it trumps all other principles or values. How would you rank the importance of each of the four principles? How do you believe they would be ordered in the context of the Christian biblical narrative? Refer to the topic study materials in your response.

Topic 3 DQ 1

               Bioethics as we know it today was developed in the US in the 70s during a time where the law and the legal profession began playing a more intricate part in overseeing social change. During that time advancements in healthcare delivery, technology, and sciences had become enshrouded in a new range of contentious social and moral issues. The emergence of bioethics played a central role in providing moral principles that enabled healthcare professionals to tackle the numerous healthcare related dilemmas that they had to face in the workplace (Rothstein). There were many strategies that had been used by healthcare professionals to navigate through ethical issues that they encountered in the medical field but the development of the four ethical principles namely; justice, beneficence non-maleficence, and autonomy by Childress and Beauchamp marked a major turning point in medical bioethics (Hoehner, 2020).

From my analysis of the four bioethical principles, I think that the autonomy principle ranks above the other three principles because I believe that the ability of letting a patient to make their own decision is critical. I would rank beneficence as the second most important principle because it requires healthcare professionals to prevent any harm from befalling their patients by ensuring the benefits of any medical procedure are weighed against the probable risks and costs (Hoehner, 2020). I think that nonmaleficence and justice can be ranked equally because they are equally significant in medical bioethics. From a Christian viewpoint, I think that beneficence and nonmaleficence would rank highest because the Bible requires to care for each other and to ensure that no harm befall even our worst enemies


Hoehner, P. (2020). Biomedical Ethics in the Christian Narrative. In G. C. University (Ed.), Practicing Dignity: An Introduction to Christian Values and Decision Making in Healthcare. Grand Canyon University.

Rothstein, M. (n.d.). The Role of Law in the Development of American Bioethics. Journal of International Bioethics, 20(4), 73-111.

 Topic 3 DQ 2


What do the four parts of the Christian biblical narrative (i.e., creation, fall, redemption, and restoration) say about the nature of God and of reality in relation to the reality of sickness and disease? From where would one find comfort and hope in the light of illness according to this narrative? Explain in detail each part of the narrative above and analyze the implications.

The four principles, of medical ethics, include beneficence, nonmaleficence, respect for autonomy, and justice. These principles are the core standard for bioethical moral decisions in bioethics. The framework evaluates the hierarchy of each principle based on importance, assisting healthcare workers in making moral decisions. Beneficence refers to preventing harm and offering benefits to others, non maleficence implies not causing harm to others, autonomy is a respect for others decisions, and justice refers to equal treatment of all (Hoehner, 2020). My own view wants to rank autonomy very high as I do think there is a great deal of value in autonomy from a healthcare perspective. Autonomy for healthcare workers and for patients is crucial to ensure the best possible patient care. However, from an ethical standpoint beneficence is ranking highest on the list for me, followed by autonomy, nonmaleficence and justice. From a biblical narrative I believe the hierarchy would be ranked as beneficence, nonmaleficence, autonomy, and lastly, justice. Hoehner makes it clear that these four principles greatly influence ethical decisions and they should be used with diligence (Hoehner, 2020). It is important to note that all four principles are important and crucial to making strong ethical decisions.

Hoehner, P. J. (2020). Practicing Dignity: An Introduction to Christian Values and Decision Making in Health Care. https://lc.gcumedia.com/phi413v/practicing-dignity-an-introduction-to-christian-values-and-decision-making-in-health-care/v1.1/#/chapter/3.

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