I’m a doctor – here’s what I think about near-death experiences

The phenomenon of near-death experiences (NDEs) has fascinated members of the medical community for decades, leaving them baffled by the lack of a scientific explanation.

One such doctor is Atlanta cardiologist Dr. Michael Sabom, who became fascinated by stories of being on the verge of death while also having out-of-body experiences that allowed people to see what was happening around them without their senses functioned normally.

Dr. Sabom, initially skeptical when he first heard of it in the 1970s, became committed to learning more about near-death experiences after meeting a woman who had an aneurysm that, while unconscious during a complicated neurosurgery, later could accurately describe her surroundings. in the OR.

After reviewing the patient’s medical records, Dr. Sabom concluded that there was no logical explanation for how she could know what had happened, what the surgical instruments looked like, what the doctors said during the procedure, or even hear that they were playing the Eagles. Hotel California’ in the OR.

Near-death experiences are often transformative and occur in conditions of extreme threat, trauma, anesthesia and cessation of brain activity, where no consciousness or sensory experiences of any kind should be possible, depending on what is known about the manner how the brain functions.

He is not the first physician to endorse the validity of patients’ near-death experiences, even though they cannot be proven by neurological examination.

A Kentucky oncologist, Dr. Jeffrey Long, has so far collected more than 5,000 accounts in more than 30 languages ​​from people of different religions and cultural backgrounds.

Doctor Sabom said Insider that a social worker sparked his interest in near-death experiences during his residency in the 1970s. He initially dismissed stories about NDEs as “nonsense,” but changed his mind when he met the woman who suffered an aneurysm, Pam Reynolds.

Dr.  Michael Sabom is pictured as part of the promotion for the film After Death, in which he appears alongside others exploring viewpoints on the afterlife

Dr. Michael Sabom is pictured as part of the promotion for the film After Death, in which he appears alongside others exploring viewpoints on the afterlife

Ms. Reynolds had to travel to Arizona for an operation that no other doctor was willing to perform due to the severity of her condition.

The operation was extremely risky: the doctors lowered her body temperature to 60 degrees, drained the blood from her head, removed the aneurysm in her brain and then reversed the process.

Her eyes were taped shut and speakers molded to her ears made clicking sounds that allowed surgeons to measure her brainstem activity and let them know when her blood could be drained.

Ms. Reynolds soon found herself floating above her nearly lifeless body, watching nearly two dozen medical personnel operate a device that she said sounded like an electric toothbrush.

Hearing doctors express concerns about her too-small veins as the song “Hotel California” played in the operating room, Ms. Reynolds met her late grandmother and uncle, who then, she says, returned her to her body.

Dr. Sabom obtained Ms. Reynolds’ medical records with her consent and was stunned to discover that her out-of-body observations about the medical staff, what they said, and the tools they used were all accurate.

He said: “Pam’s experience was anchored in a well-documented operation. There was no logical explanation for how she could know what had happened. Talking to her convinced me that out-of-body experiences were a real phenomenon.’

Dr. Sabom now says that Ms. Reynolds’ experience has made him a strong advocate of near-death and out-of-body experiences, adding that the way he cares for patients has changed.

While he may not consider the possibility of the patient’s soul hovering above them as he works to restart their heart, he said, “But after that, I wonder.”

‘Hearing stories like Pam’s has convinced me that I can never be completely sure that a patient cannot hear me. I was aware that a casual comment during an operation or resuscitation could be harmful.’

He added that survivors of near-death experiences often show a greater will to live after their NDE.

At the same time, Dr. Sabom does not believe that experiences similar to those of Pam and the rest of the 17 percent of people who nearly die are indicative of life after death, as there is no research to support this.

He said: ‘Our scientific and medical training is based on material evidence – we want to be able to measure something and hold it in our hands.

‘You can’t do that with NDEs or the idea that consciousness exists outside the brain, but I have become convinced that this does not make these phenomena any less real.’

According to research by Dr. Jeffrey Long, an estimated 45 percent of near-death experiences involve the feeling of being out of body, where people’s consciousness is separated from their physical being.

About three-quarters of those who experienced this indicated that they wanted to stay in the afterlife because of the immense love and joy that overwhelmed them. More than half say they have seen a ‘heavenly’ realm and about a quarter of them are shrouded in light or mist.