Application of the Natural Law Theory in the Management of a Case in Relation with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care
Natural laws are principles with reasons used to examine the human nature and are set by the natural world. These natural laws in most cases use justification to examine the nature of humans and try to explain morality and ethics basing on the religious perspective. Additionally, natural laws often are joined with common laws and norms of the societies but in most cases these natural laws contend that specific rights and values are acquired genetically from parents. In addition, these natural laws are related to ethical and religious directives for catholic health care which actually stipulate the bioethics used to manage patients (Fay, 2001).
Cancer can be defined as the abnormal proliferation and growth of cells which spread abnormally to other tissues. These cancerous cells are also subject to metastases which actually refer to the spread of these cancerous cells to the rest of the body from the original organ of infection. Breast cancer on the other hand is the abnormality of cells in the breast tissue whose metastases may occur to the bones and lungs. In the bones, it causes fragility of the bones resulting to bone fractures while in the lungs it causes development of pleural effusions and also breathing difficulties. Difficulties in breathing due to pneumonia can be managed using a respirator which actually aids the patient to breathe.
This case study focuses and aims at the management of Betty, my wife, who is 72 years of age and was diagnosed with breast cancer about three years ago. The cancer actually has spread to her bones resulting to paralysis. In addition, it has spread to her lungs resulting to difficulties in breathing hence doctors projected one month ago that she could survive for 3-6 months. Currently, she has developed complications of pneumonia and other pleural outflow which has prompted doctors to seek for consent from the family members so that her life can be saved; she is actually to be put in a respirator which is the only possible solution to save her life. At the moment she has actually lost consciousness which has lead to doctors estimating her survival chances to being 20% within a period of 2 months. This paper actually is an argument basing on the natural law theory and relating it to the ethical and religious directives for catholic health care. It actually revolves around the decision I will make in regard to the natural law theory so that doctors actually can save my wife’s life.
I personally propose that Betty should be put in a respirator in order to save her life which sincerely is more precious and valuable than any other thing. To tell the truth, I support my opinion with the laws and principles contained in the law of nature which actually go hand in hand with the ethical and religious directives for catholic health care. The following are the principles contained in the natural laws to which I base my proposition in the management of my wife Betty: First, I base my suggestion to put her in a respirator on the principle of “stewardship” which explicitly acknowledges the fact that God is the creator and has total control over His creation. It also argues that as human beings we have been given the duty and obligation of taking good care of this creation. In relation to this, I believe that I’m really obligated to making sound decisions regarding my wife’s case since she is God’s creation as well. Therefore, by deciding that my wife should be put in a respirator, I am actually practicing my right and duty of taking care of God’s creation (Fay, 2001).
Secondly, I base my ruling on the principle of “Human Dignity” which argues that it is the duty and right of any competent or capable person to make decisions regarding consent on medical procedures to be performed to them which completely depends on the knowledge of dangers, advantages and requirements actually involved in the procedure. The principle also argues that these rights and obligations are voluntary and free. In case the patient is not competent for example, in cases of mental illnesses, unconsciousness and cases where the patient cannot really make a decision; the principle allows the person taking care of the patient to make decisions regarding the welfare of the patient. Therefore, basing on the unconscious and senseless condition Betty is, she is not able to make any decision regarding what should be done to her. Therefore as the husband, I am obliged and entitled to make a decision on behalf of her (Walter, 1996).
Thirdly, I argue that Betty should be put in a respirator in regard to the principle of “Proportionate” also referred to as “ordinary” means. This principle actually contends that patients should be given and provided with therapeutic or treatment measurements that are beneficial and offer some anticipation or hope although they should not be cumbersome and tedious to the patients. I believe that the unconscious and senseless situation of Betty actually needs therapeutic procedures that give hope and anticipation in regard to her chances of survival. Therefore, putting her into a respirator actually increases her chances of survival and recovery from pneumonia (Walter, 2001).
Additionally, my opinion to put Betty into a respirator is based on the principle of “Sanctity” which proposes that life is actually holy and sanctified in relation to the religious context. It really argues in the catholic perspective which describes human life as being God given and more sacred from the day one is born to the day one dies. Hence, my decision to put Betty into a respirator is based on the fact that her life is very pure and should be preserved in all possible ways (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, 1970).
Finally, I explicitly back up my decision to put Betty into a respirator on the principle of “Beneficence” or “Nonmalificence” which states that you should always do good, nice and pleasant things to other people. On the contrary, it objects the doing of things that are damaging, harming, hurting and traumatizing to others. I personally believe that I am objected to doing better things to my wife rather than doing no good to her. Therefore, by deciding that she should be put in a respirator is actually doing the best thing to her rather than leaving her die of pneumonia (Fay, 2001).
In conclusion, natural laws can be argued as being laws that occur naturally with reasons and are used to govern the universal moral values of human beings. Additionally, these natural laws are stipulated in the ethical and religious directives for catholic health care which are actually used to protect the rights of patients in health care setups. Finally, in a health care setup, the rights and freedom of a patient are totally protected and the consent of a patient is always required in cases crucial decisions are to be made regarding the welfare of the patient.
Confraternity of Christian Doctrine. (1970). New American Bible. Washington, D. C: Confraternity of Christian Doctrine.
Fay, M. W. P. (2001). Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services. 4th ed. Washington, D.C: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc.
Walter, M. A. (1996). The Documents of Vatican. New York, NY: American Press