Unit VIII Reflection Paper
Provide an example of a possible confusion between theological beliefs and ethical principles in a commonly-held religious belief system. Are there practices within this faith that might be critiqued as unethical? How should we apply the fundamentals of ethical reasoning in this case?
Your response should be at least three pages in length and in Times New Roman 12pt. font. You are required to use at least your textbook and one scholarly article from any database within the CSU Online Library as source material for your response. All sources used, including the textbook, must be referenced; paraphrased and quoted material must have accompanying citations in APA format. The title and reference page do not count towards the three-page minimum.
Information about accessing the Blackboard Grading Rubric for this assignment is provided below.
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In medical education, it is important to explore the intersection between religious beliefs and ethical principles. This promotes understanding of diverse cultural perspectives that often influence medical decisions. In this regard, this reflection paper will provide an example of a possible confusion between theological beliefs and ethical principles in a commonly-held religious belief system. Additionally, practices within this faith that might be critiqued as unethical will be explored. Finally, the fundamentals of ethical reasoning will be applied in this case.
A possible confusion between theological beliefs and ethical principles can be observed in the Jehovah’s Witnesses faith whereby they refuse blood transfusions. They believe that the use of blood products is forbidden by God, as it goes against the biblical teachings in the book of Acts, which emphasizes that Christians must abstain from blood. However, this theological belief presents a challenge to ethical principles in medical practice since blood transfusions are often necessary to save lives.
In practice, this religious stance has resulted in the deaths of people who refused blood transfusions and other blood products, even when they were medically necessary. The medical community has criticised this practice as unethical since it puts lives at risk. In critically ill patients who require surgery or other lifesaving interventions, the withholding of a blood transfusion on religious grounds can be considered an unethical practice, tantamount to endangering the patient’s life.
The fundamentals of ethical reasoning in this case require a balancing act between respecting the religious beliefs of a patient and upholding medical ethics. The ethical principle of autonomy advocates that patients have the right to make decisions about their healthcare, including whether or not to accept a blood transfusion. However, medical professionals also have a responsibility to act in the best interest of the patient, which may conflict with the patient’s religious beliefs. In such a situation, medical professionals should strive to work collaboratively with patients to ensure that their medical decision-making is well-informed, including the implications of refusing life-saving interventions like blood transfusions.
In conclusion, while it is essential to respect religious beliefs, medical professionals must be guided by established ethical principles based on the best interests of the patient. The medical community should implement measures to ensure that patients with religious beliefs that conflict with medical ethics receive the necessary support, guidance, and education, to make well-informed decisions.