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Prayer, Medicine, and a Child's Death

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Aliyah King

Biomedical Ethics

March 14, 2016

                        Prayer, Medicine, and a Child's Death

        I am immensely apologetic on behalf of your child's passing with the failure of medical treatment for obstructed bowel due to religious beliefs. The principle of autonomy is one of the four guiding principles of medical ethics.  I surely understand that the two of you potentially relied  on prayer rather than medicine because it is apart of your religious theory. I also comprehend that the beliefs and practice of Christ Scientist, are aware that only God and the mind have ultimate reality, and that sin and illness are illusions that can be overcome by prayer and faith. Therefore, upon reflection of your religion, the court hereby convicted the both of you guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Ironically, your jury convicted your case in the very shadow of the Mother Church in Boston, which consequentially, The Supreme judicial Court of Massachusetts reversed your conviction of the failure of trying to heal your 2-year-old son through prayer rather than medical treatment. However, I would like to inform a few impressions for people you may know, or whom are infuenced by your religion, that I hope would rationally consider before an occurrence, hence this case, could recur.
        There are a few ethical issues pertaining to Christian Science and to abide the Laws of Nature. The contentious inquiry about Christian Science is if there really is a God, or if strongly believing in one makes you engage in activity for pretending to be God. In the First Amendment of the Constitution it guarantees freedom concerning religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition. It forbids Congress from both promoting one religion over others, and also restricting an individual's religious practices. This correlates with the court's decison to reverse your conviction of manslaughter, because going against a person(s) religious practices, violates consitutional rights. In 1776, Thomas Jefferson proposed a philosophy of human rights inherent to all people in the Declaration of Independence, asserting that "all men (human) are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." By allowing you to make the life or death decision upon you 2-year-old son by refusing medical treatment, is violating human rights. Regardless of the age, skin tone, the language you speak, your ethnicity, your nationality, where you are from, or who's family you were born into, we all have human rights; and to think you have the right to 'pretend God' and take away a life in fear that your God will judge you for this in your afterlife is completely absurd.  Your son had a lifetime to live, memories to make, choices to pursue, and adventures to seek, for you to just take it all away from him because you were afraid of your permanent punishment with God rather than your temporary punishment with the Law. Although your son is 2 years old, he is still a human and he still has rights. So, yes. I do understand that your religion belives that God and the mind has the ulimate power through prayer and faith; but that does not mean I agree with this procedure of chosing prayer over medication, medication that could of potentially saved your sons life. A life he deserved to live. The bizzare part of this, is that your childs death wasn't something that was rare. In fact, according to KidsHealth, "intussusception (intestinal obstruction) is the most common abdominal emergency in children 2 years old and younger", that being said, this was an emergency that could of been avoided by proper medical treatment, and 1 weeks worth of recovery. I understand that you believe it was a gift for Christ Scienctist that God speaks to them through prayer and teaches them to heal those who are in need of healing. But do you want to know what else is a gift? Having a child. For you to take God's gift away, is also violating the Law of God. The seventh commandments in the Ten Commandments in the bible states "Thou shalt not kill" (Exodus 20:1-17), and although you religion says to pray, you have committed a sin for killing your child by the refusal of medical treatment. However, regardless of the conclusion you have already made, you have violated a right somewhere along the lines. Whether it is the Law made by man, or the Law made by God.
        On the other hand, on the basis of religious belief, the parents do have the right to refuse or reject medical treatment on behalf of their child(ren) due to the theory of Christian Science. Christian Science are practitioners who devote themselves full-time to helping others through prayer. That being said, I understand that you believed that no one in the medical field has more healing power than God; that doctors may treat, but God only heals.
        However, the argument to stand that allowing your child to simply die over something that can easily be treated, there must be a consistency. The moral princibles that would support anyones decision on this case, is to leave it all in God's hands. It is wrong to go against medical treatment for children, but in God's eyes, it is wrong to go against Him. From a theological perspective, Samuel said,

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