Scientists Prove There is Life After Death


“Cosmology and Consciousness Conference – Mind and Matter” (2011)

Life After Life │ Death Experiences │ Full Documentary │

“Is Consciousness Produced by the Brain?” by Bruce Greyson

Life Afterlife (FULL DOCUMENTARY)

Life Afterlife takes an intriguing look at the eternal question: Is there life after death? And if so, can we communicate with the dead? Through personal stories from everyday people who claim they’ve made contact with deceased friends and relatives, to self-proclaimed mediums, to philosophers and scientists who’ve dedicated their lives to these issues, this film examines the fact and fantasy of the last great frontier. The documentary was produced and directed by Lisa F. Jackson. Executive producers are Linda Ellerbee and Rolfe Tessem. First aired on HBO in October of 1999.

Strange experiences reported at the time of death, including near-death experiences and death-bed visions, are often dismissed by skeptics as artifacts of the dying patient’s misfiring brain. But such explanations are confounded by the fact that, in some cases, other quite healthy people present in the room with the dying also experience the ‘veil’ to the afterlife being lifted.

For example, there have been numerous cases in which carers for the dying have described seeing a bright light surrounding the dying person, exuding what they relate as “a raw feeling of love”. What sort of numbers are we talking? Researcher Peter Fenwick was amazed to find in a survey that one in every three palliative carers reported accounts of “a radiant light that envelops the dying person, and may spread throughout the room and involve the carer”. In a similar Dutch study, more than half of the carers surveyed reported witnessing this ‘light’! Meanwhile in a questionnaire put to palliative care nurses in Australia, one respondent told how he, another nurse, and the patient’s husband saw a blue-white light leave the body of the patient and drift toward the ceiling. “As she died we just noticed like an energy rising from her…sort of a bluey white sort of aura,” the nurse explained. “We looked at each other, and the husband was on the other side of the bed and he was looking at us… he saw it as well and he said he thinks that she went to a better place”. As is often the case, this experience was transformative for the nurse: “It probably changed the way I felt about people dying and what actually happens after death”. In fact the researcher responsible for the Australian survey, Deborah Morris, was herself originally inspired to investigate death-bed experiences further by her own experience of seeing ‘the dying light’. “There was a young man who had died in the room with his family and I saw an aura coming off him,” she recounts. “It was like a mist. I didn’t tell anybody for years. I’ve never seen it again”.

Peter Fenwick relates an instance in which a person, at the time of their brother’s death, witnessed “odd tiny sparks of bright light” emanating from the body – and what’s more, these ‘sparks’ were also seen by another person in the room. In another case, a carer awoke in the darkness of early morning to the sight of “a flame licking the top of the wall against the ceiling” above her dying father’s bed. “I saw a plume of smoke rising, like the vapour that rises from a snuffed-out candle, but on a bigger scale…it was being thrown off by a single blade of phosphorus light”, the witness recounted. “It hung above Dad’s bed, about 18 inches or so long, and was indescribably beautiful…it seemed to express perfect love and peace”. She switched on the light to investigate further, but the light instantly vanished; “the room was the same as always on a November morning, cold and cheerless, with no sound of breathing from Dad’s bed. His body was still warm”. This sighting of a vapour-like substance leaving the body at the time of death is another element that is often reported:

As he died something which is very hard to describe because it was so unexpected and because I had seen nothing like it left up through his body and out of his head. It resembled distinct delicate waves/lines of smoke (smoke is not the right word but I have not got a comparison) and then disappeared. I was the only one to see it. It left me with such a sense of peace and comfort. I don’t think that we were particularly close as my sister and I had been sent off to boarding school at an early age.

I do not believe in God. But as to an afterlife I now really do not know what to think.

Family, carers and physicians have also reported various other phenomena occurring at the time of death, from the sounds of angelic choirs singing through to visions of the already deceased at the dying person’s bedside. For example, one woman reported that as she watched her mother pass away…

…Suddenly I was aware that her father was stood at the foot of her bed. My mother was staring at him too and her face was lit up with joy. It was then that I saw her face appeared to be glowing with a gold light. The light began to leave through the top of her head and go towards the ceiling. Looking back to my mother’s face I saw that she was no longer breathing.

Similarly, Peter Fenwick was told by one lady that while sitting at her dying husband’s bedside there was suddenly “a most brilliant light shining from my husband’s chest”. The light began to rise toward the ceiling, and she began hearing “the most beautiful music and singing voices”, filling her with an overwhelming feeling of joy. At this point, the nurse interrupted with news that her husband had just passed, and the light and the music instantly disappeared, leaving the woman bereft at being left behind, after being shown just the barest of glimpses ‘behind the veil’.

Certainly, those witnessing the death of another person are sure to be under psychological stress, so perhaps in some cases we could explain cases away as some sort of hallucination. However, in cases where multiple witnesses in the same room describe the same vision, we really do being to feel as if we’re reaching for mundane explanations.

Crossovers between Mediumship and Near-Death Experiences

After days of struggle against the disease that had struck him down, Dr. Horace Ackley could take no more. All of a sudden, he felt himself gradually rising from his body; as his organs ceased functioning, Dr. Ackley suddenly found himself in a position slightly above his lifeless physical body, looking down on it and those who had been in the room with him. Then, without warning…

…the scenes of my whole life seemed to move before me like a panorama; every act seemed as though it were drawn in life size and was really present: it was all there, down to the closing scenes. So rapidly did it pass, that I had little time for reflection. I seemed to be in a whirlpool of excitement; and then, just as suddenly as this panorama had been presented, it was withdrawn, and I was left without a thought of the past or future to contemplate my present condition.

Dr. Ackley realized that he must have died, and was gratified to learn that it seemed a rather pleasant experience. “Death is not so bad a thing after all,” he said to himself, “and I should like to see what that country is that I am going to, if I am a spirit.” His only regret, looking down on the whirl of activity in the room, was that he was unable to inform his friends that he lived on, to set their minds and hearts at ease. At this point, two ‘guardian spirits’ appeared before Dr. Ackley, greeting him by name before leading him from the room into an area where a number of ‘spirits’ whom he was familiar with had assembled.

Those familiar with accounts of near-death experiences might well be saying to themselves “ho-hum, another stock-standard near-death experience”. They might guess that Dr. Ackley then woke up in his resuscitated body and told an NDE researcher about his experience. But if they did, they would be wrong. Dr. Horace Ackley truly did die that day, never to return to this life. The report that you read above was an account of his death, allegedly given by him through a spirit medium – one Samuel Paist of Philadelphia. And what makes it truly remarkable is that it was written down by Paist in his book A Narrative of the Experience of Horace Abraham Ackley, M.D., and published in 1861 – more than a century before the near-death experience had come to the attention of researchers and the general public. And yet Paist/Ackley tells of an OBE shortly after death, a “panoramic” life review (the exact word “panoramic” is found in many NDE reports), and being greeted by spirits who subsequently guided him to an afterlife realm!

But the after-death narrative of Dr. Horace Ackley is not an isolated instance. More than a decade before the publication of Raymond Moody’s Life After Life – the book that started the modern fascination with near-death experiences – another scientist had already investigated and written at length on the topic. In a pair of relatively obscure books – The Supreme Adventure (1961) and Intimations of Immortality (1965) – Dr. Robert Crookall cited numerous examples of what he called “pseudo-death,” noting the archetypal elements that Moody would later bring to the public’s attention as the near-death experience. What’s more however, Crookall also compared these tales of ‘pseudo-death’ with accounts of the dying process as told by ‘communicators’ through mediums – and found a number of these same recurring elements, well before they became public knowledge through Moody’s Life After Life.

For example, Crookall showed that, according to ostensibly dead ‘communicators’ talking through mediums, the newly- deceased are usually met by other deceased loved ones: “Usually friends or relatives take the newly-dead man in charge”. This of course may not be considered a surprising thing for a medium to say – it’s probably what most people would expectantly hope for upon entering the spirit realm. But the common elements continue, and include some of the more idiosyncratic features of the NDE. For instance, Crookall noted that, as with the case of Dr. Ackley above, communicators often declare through mediums that “in the early stages of transition, they experienced a panoramic review of their past lives”. In one case the communicator recounted that shortly after death “the scenes of the past life” are revealed; another said that upon ‘waking’ his “entire life unreeled itself”. A dead communicator by the name of Scott told medium Jane Sherwood that his thoughts “raced over the record of a whole long lifetime”, while another communicator said that he saw “clearer and clearer the events of my past life pass, in a long procession, before me.”

Beyond the meeting with the familiar dead, and the past life review, Crookall’s research also found that mediumistic communicators regularly make note of the out-of-body experience component. For example, one communicator noted that he “seemed to rise up out of my body”. According to another, “I was not lying in the bed, but floating in the air, a little above it. I saw the body, stretched out straight”. Furthermore, they also describe the familiar element of traveling through a tunnel! “I saw in front of me a dark tunnel,” said one communicator, before travelling through it and then stepping “out of the tunnel into a new world”. Another communicator noted that they remembered “a curious opening, as if one had passed through subterranean passages and found oneself near the mouth of a cave… The light was much stronger outside”. And once through the ‘tunnel’, the environment is once again familiar to anyone who has perused a catalogue of NDEs: “I was with ‘B’ [her son, killed in the War]: he took me to a world so brilliant that I can’t describe it”.

The common elements are compelling. For anyone familiar with the NDE literature, these reports through mediums are startlingly similar to the accounts of near-death experiencers – and yet Crookall collected them years before the archetype of the NDE became common knowledge. And what’s more, not only do they seem to offer support for the validity of the near-death experience, they also hint that there may well be more to the much-maligned subject of mediumship.

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Near Death Experiences – NDE proves we have life out side our body


near-death-experiences-explained

near-death-experiences-explained

Near Death Experiences,

A near-death experience (NDE) refers to a subjective experience that some people undergo, after being declared clinically dead or are in a situation where death is expected. The term was coined by Dr. Raymond Moody in 1975 in his book, “Life After Life“. Many near-death experiencers (NDErs), however, have said that the term ‘near-death’ is not correct because they are sure that they were in death, not just near-death.

pleasurable NDEs, involving feelings of love, joy, peace, and/or bliss, as reported by most NDErs; andNear-death experiencers (NDErs) have reported 2 types of experiences:

  • distressing NDEs, involving feelings of terror, horror, anger, isolation, and/or guilt, as reported by a small number of NDErs.
  • Both types of NDErs usually report that the experience is hyper-real, even more real than earthly life. These experiences, however, have been described in medical journals as having the characteristics of hallucinations. Notwithstanding, parapsychologists, religious believers, and a number of scientists have pointed to them as evidence of an afterlife and mind-body dualism.

With recent developments in cardiac resuscitation techniques, the number of reported NDEs has increased. According to a Gallup poll, approx. 8 million Americans claim to have had a near-death experience. This number, however, may be underestimated, as some NDErs may not feel comfortable discussing their experience with others, due in part to NDE being perceived as a paranormal experience.

NDEs are presently studied in the fields of psychology, psychiatry, and hospital medicine.

Four Phases of a Pleasurable Near-Death Experience: The International Association for Near-Death Studies identified 4 phases that tend to happen in a certain order (although it can also occur in any order):

  • Dissociative phase: NDErs no longer feel associated with their physical bodies or with any particular perspective. They feel detached and completely peaceful, without seeing, hearing, or feeling anything in particular. Sometimes, they also describe a floating sense of freedom from pain and of complete well-being.
  • Naturalistic phase: NDErs become aware of their bodies and the surrounding area from a perspective outside their bodies. Things look and sound like normal, but are unusually clear and vivid. NDErs also often say they had unusual abilities, such as being able to see through walls, and being able to ‘hear’ the unspoken thoughts of people nearby.
  • Supernatural phase: NDErs meet beings and environments that are not part of the natural world. Communication with these beings, such as their deceased loved ones or other non-physical entities, is ‘mind to mind’, rather than spoken. NDErs say they went to an extremely beautiful environment in which objects appeared lit from within and sometimes, they also hear beautiful music, unlike any worldly music they’d ever heard. Often, they also say that they moved rapidly through a tunnel or void toward a light and on entering the light, discovered that the light was actually a being which knew and loved them completely. Some NDErs also underwent a ‘life review’, reexperiencing and experiencing being on the receiving end of all their actions throughout life.
  • Phase of returning to the physical body: About half of the NDErs say they chose whether or not to return. When they chose to return, it was because of a love connection with one or more living people. The other half say they did not choose to return, but were either told or made to return, or else they were just suddenly back in their bodies.
  •  Four Types of Distressing Near-Death Experience: The International Association for Near-Death Studies also identified 4 types of distressing NDEs in descending order from most to least often reported:
  1. Powerlessness type: This group of NDErs experienced the same phases as a pleasurable NDE, but they say they felt powerless, while this experience was happening to them, so they resisted and were either afraid or angry.
  2. Nothingness type: This group of NDErs felt as though they did not exist, or they were completely alone in a total and eternal void.
  3. Torment type: This group of NDErs say that they were in ugly or scary landscapes, sometimes with evil beings, annoying noises, frightening creatures, and/or other human spirits in great distress.
  4. Worthlessness type: This is the least common of the 4 types of distressing NDEs in which the NDEr felt negatively judged by a Higher Power during a life review.
  5. Some distressing NDErs said that once they gave up fighting the distressing NDE and surrendered to it, or once they sincerely asked for help from a loving Higher Power, their distressing NDE became a pleasurable one. The reverse in which a pleasurable NDE turned into a distressing one is extremely rare.

 Blind Woman Can See During Near Death Experience Pim Lommel NDE

 

Here are some sientifc reaserching about NDE 

Near-death_experience

Near-death_experience

A surge of electrical activity in the brain could be responsible for the vivid experiences described by near-death survivors, scientists report.
A study carried out on dying rats found high levels of brainwaves at the point of the animals’ demise.

US researchers said that in humans this could give rise to a heightened state of consciousness.  The research is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The lead author of the study, Dr Jimo Borjigin, of the University of Michigan, said: “A lot of people thought that the brain after clinical death was inactive or hypoactive, with less activity than the waking state, and we show that is definitely not the case. “If anything, it is much more active during the dying process than even the waking state.”
From bright white lights to out-of-body sensations and feelings of life flashing before their eyes, the experiences reported by people who have come close to death but survived are common the world over.
However, studying this in humans is a challenge, and these visions are little understood.

To find out more, scientists at the University of Michigan monitored nine rats as they were dying.

In the 30-second period after the animal’s hearts stopped beating, they measured a sharp increase in high-frequency brainwaves called gamma oscillations.
These pulses are one of the neuronal features that are thought to underpin consciousness in humans, especially when they help to “link” information from different parts of the brain. In the rats, these electrical pulses were found at even higher levels just after the cardiac arrest than when animals were awake and well.
Dr Borjigin said it was feasible that the same thing would happen in the human brain, and that an elevated level of brain activity and consciousness could give rise to near-death visions.

1. Schizophrenia, dissociative anaesthesia and near-death experience; three events meeting at the NMDA receptor.
Med Hypotheses 2004;62(1):23-8 (ISSN: 0306-9877)
Department of Pharmacology, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The, Netherlands.

The three events, viz. schizophrenia, dissociative anaesthesia and Near-Death Experience, despite their seemingly unrelated manifestation to each other, have nevertheless similar functional basis. All three events are linked to the glutamate sensitive N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor complex, which serves as their common functional denominator. Arguments and speculations are presented in favor of the view that, the three events might be considered as functional models of each other. Antagonism to the recognition NMDA-site of the receptor induces dissociative anaesthesia and precipitates Near-Death Experience. Agonist reinforcement at the modulatory glycine-site of the receptor counteracts negative symptoms of schizophrenia. Both types of challenges towards the receptor are compatible with a glutamate deficiency concept which underlies the meeting of the three events at the NMDA receptor.

2. Near-death experiences and the temporal lobe.
Psychol Sci 2004 Apr;15(4):254-8 (ISSN: 0956-7976)
Britton WB; Bootzin RR
Department of Psychology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA.

Many studies in humans suggest that altered temporal lobe functioning, especially functioning in the right temporal lobe, is involved in mystical and religious experiences. We investigated temporal lobe functioning in individuals who reported having transcendental “near-death experiences” during life-threatening events. These individuals were found to have more temporal lobe epileptiform electroencephalographic activity than control subjects and also reported significantly more temporal lobe epileptic symptoms. Contrary to predictions, epileptiform activity was nearly completely lateralized to the left hemisphere. The near-death experience was not associated with dysfunctional stress reactions such as dissociation, posttraumatic stress disorder, and substance abuse, but rather was associated with positive coping styles. Additional analyses revealed that near-death experiencers had altered sleep patterns, specifically, a shorter duration of sleep and delayed REM sleep relative to the control group. These results suggest that altered temporal lobe functioning may be involved in the near-death experience and that individuals who have had such experiences are physiologically distinct from the general population.

3. Near-death experiences with reports of meeting deceased people.
Death Stud 2001 Apr-May;25(3):229-49 (ISSN: 0748-1187)
Kelly EW
University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA.

Few scientists have taken seriously the interpretation of near-death experiences (NDEs) as evidence for survival after death, even though most people having such an experience have become convinced that they will survive death and several features of NDEs are at least suggestive of survival. This article compares survival and some nonsurvival interpretations of NDEs in light of one feature suggestive of survival, that of reports of having seen deceased persons during the NDE. Several features of 74 NDEs involving such reports were compared with those of 200 NDEs not involving such reports. Although some of the findings could support either a survival or a nonsurvival interpretation, several other findings may weaken the primary nonsurvival hypothesis, that of expectation. Additionally, the convergence of several features suggesting survival and the convergence of features that require multiple kinds of alternative explanations, in individual cases as well as in large groups of cases, warrant our considering the survival hypothesis of NDEs more seriously than most scientists currently do.

4. What Emergency Department Staff Need to Know About Near-Death Experiences
Debbie James. Topics in Emergency Medicine.
Jan-Mar 2004.Vol.26, Iss. 1; pg. 29, 6 pgs

A CASE TO REMEMBER

J.B., a 42-year-old white man, was taken to the Emergency Department (ED) by emergency medical services (EMS) after he was resuscitated at his son’s high school football game. He had suddenly collapsed and 2 bystanders started Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), which was continued until paramedics arrived 5 minutes later. he was placed on a cardiac monitor, defibrillated, intubated, and transported once an IV was in place and a rhythm established. Upon arrival, J.B. had 2 more episodes of ventricular fibrillation, which was treated according to the Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) protocol. he was transferred to the coronary care unit within the next 2 hours. Over the subsequent 24 hours, J.B. was stabilized, extubated, and closely monitored.

Two days later he asked his nurse to explain what had happened to him because he recalled “dreams” about how the paramedics had intervened with him at the game and how the ED staff had participated in his resuscitation. The nurse nervously stated that she was not at liberty to discuss his resuscitative care and encouraged him to consult his cardiologist about any concerns. J.B. did not inquire further about his “dreams.”

Two years later, J.B. attended a cardiac rehabilitation support group meeting and heard the guest speaker present the topic of near-death experiences (NDEs). he was shocked to learn that several people in the group had vivid memories of “dreams” they had following their resuscitation. J.B. became emotional and fought the urge to ask the speaker questions regarding his close brush with death. he had not allowed himself to discuss the subject though the memories were as clear that night as they were 2 years prior. Before he realized it he was asking the speaker about his memory of hearing one paramedic saying to the other, “Hurry up, crank it up to 200.. .we’re losing him, we’re losing him!” he continued to divulge that he felt something funny and then heard the paramedic yell, “Hurry up dammit, crank it up to 300; we’re losing this guy.”

After J.B. had recounted the 200-300-360 sequence, the speaker explained that he had just given the exact energy settings that health care providers are taught to use to defibrillate patients. J.B. innocently asked, “then you think it happened like that?” The speaker compassionately responded, “I think it happened exactly like that” as she saw others in the group wiping tears from their eyes.

J.B. is one of the estimated 10 million Americans who has reported a near-death experience (NDE) associated with resuscitation. he had an immediate desire to disclose the NDE but based on the reaction of the person he first chose to tell, he suppressed any further desire to share.

DEFINITION OF NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE

Absolute consensus on the definition of the NDE among researchers has not been reached though most will agree that it is one of the most powerful emotional and psychological events known. For the last 3 decades, the term NDE typically describes a close brush with physical, psychological, emotional, and/or spiritual death. Pirn van Lommel, Dutch cardiologist, recently defined the NDE as “the reported memory of all impressions during a special state of consciousness.”

CHARACTERISTICS

Survivors often recall certain characteristics about their close brush with death. The most common characteristics include, but are not limited to, a bright light, encountering others, the presence of Deity, and peace and/or an understanding of love and knowledge. Van Lommel1 notes that specific elements of the NDE include an out-of-body (OOB) experience, pleasant feelings, and seeing a tunnel, a light, deceased relatives, or a life review.

STAGES OF THE NDE

Consensus about the stages of the NDE has also not been reached, probably due to the fact that no two NDEs are identical; however, patterns have emerged as patients report their experience. A composite of the stages described across cultures and centuries might include euphoria, an OOB experience, a tunnel experience, an unearthly world of light, and a decision-making period.

* Euphoria-a floating, peaceful feeling. Most report that they had no human wants or needs. They were not hungry, thirsty, in pain, hot, or cold.

* Out-of-body experience-a separation of body and spirit. Reports most commonly include watching the body from an outward perspective, feeling little to no attachment to the physical self.

* Tunnel experience-being pulled into a dark hole or the center of the earth. Some feel they were in a black vastness and/or moving quickly toward the center.

* An unearthly world of light-being in surroundings that are not of this earth. Some report seeing objects and beings that are unfamiliar or have features of light. Sounds such, as music, have also been noted in this stage.

* The decision-making period-being involved in the decision to stay or return. Some report knowing or being told that “it is not time” or that “you must go back” or being given the choice to return or not.

These stages are certainly not experienced by every person who has had an NDE. Some people report being in a bright light or a dark tunnel and having a “knowing” that they must return and that is the entire experience. Others describe all the stages of the event in elaborate detail.

LITERATURE REVIEW

For hundreds of years, people have reported stories related to their close encounters with death. Notations may be found in The Bible, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, and many widely read sources, but not until 1975 was the term Near-Death Experience used to describe such encounters. Moody published Life After Life, a book containing stories and accounts revealed to him by over 100 people. he was criticized for his “nonscientiflc” study by other researchers. Moody’s work has been accepted as the foundation upon which others have based their research. he identified perceptions frequently described by patients who had been successfully resuscitated. These include but are not limited to

* feelings of separation of mind from body

* sensations of drifting, floating, passing through solid objects

* awareness of actual events but an inability to communicate to living beings

* hearing loud, hissing, thunderous noises

* moving through a tunnel

* meeting a brilliant, warm Light

* experiencing peace, indescribable beauty, splendor, and a longing to be part of it

* recognizing others

* communication with deceased others by thoughts

* returning through darkness, propelled by force

* feeling a purpose about life

Kubler-Ross3 subsequently included this phenomenon in her publications related to aspects of death and dying. She reported anecdotes of deathbed visions, visits, and stories. The patients sharing these anecdotes described many perceptions which had been identified by Moody.

The first scientific study of NDEs was documented by Ring4 in 1980. he found that in a sample of 102 people who came close to death, 49 described an NDE that fit the core experience concept. Of the 102 subjects, 61 appeared to be unable to verbalize language to describe the feelings, perceptions, and time frame of the NDE.

Articles in the medical literature in the late seventies and early eighties primarily reported qualitative studies which focused on “stories”from patients who had close brushes with death. Sabom5 reported “recollections” of patients in his practice who had suffered a myocardial infarction. They too, recounted many of the same characteristics cited by Moody.

George Gallup reported a landmark study conducted by the prestigious Gallup Poll. He reported that “approximately 35 percent of those persons who have come close to death undergo an NDE.”6

Greyson noted a lack of quantitative measures of the NDE and its components and introduced an NDE Scale. The 16-item final questionnaire resulted from an original 33-item tool Greyson developed after identifying 80 manifestations characteristic of an NDE. he used cluster analysis to reveal 3 factor clusters, which are transcendental, affective, and cognitive NDEs. Greyson reported that “this reliable, valid, and easily administered scale is clinically useful in differentiating NDEs from organic brain syndrome, and nonspecific stress responses. “7(p569)

Oakes, in 1978, published a 3-part segment entitled The Lazarus Syndrome in RN magazine. Here she reported the first nursing research study that focused on “what patients perceive in near-death events.”8(p55) She noted that “strong cultural influences and religious beliefs affect a patient’s expectation of what death will bring; and that this is reflected in the dying process.”8(p56) Oakes concluded her 2-year study, in which she interviewed 21 postresuscitation patients, with a Care Plan for the Unique Needs of Those Who’ve Died.8(p60) The care plan included 5 major guidelines to consider when CPR becomes necessary. The first suggestion helped guide care when a patient is in cardiac arrest and apparently unconscious. Specific interventions included avoidance of threatening language, reassurance about care, and incorporation of comforting touch. The second guideline related to caring for patients who become unconscious. Reassurance and support, reality orientation, and care during transfer to intensive care unit (ICU) are recommended for the plan of care. Establishment of a low stress environment, which included considerations about personal care items, privacy, verbal support, was the third care plan item. The fourth guideline dealt ‘with interventions regarding the post-CPR reports of NDE. Attention and active listening, nonjudgmental behavior, assistance in exploring the event, and documentation were discussed and encouraged in this section. Lastly, methods for follow-up care were reviewed. Care plan items included assessment of the impact on the patient, intervention with the family, and long-term support.

Orne reported her findings related to nurses’ attitudes about NDEs and what they considered appropriate interventions. Results indicated “listening to NDE accounts and encouraging discussion” ranked highest among responses.9(p420) She concluded her study with a list of research questions which need to be answered. Two of these provided foundation for this study. They included “Is coping influenced by what is (or is not) said or done by nurses?” and “What strategies are most needed: reassurance, information, invitations to talk and explore feelings, or referral?”

Corcoran10 presented insights on how to best provide care for patients who have had an NDE. She reviewed the phenomenon, characteristics, incidence, and aftereffects. In addition, she provided a new concept. Research has shown that “NDEs have fairly common characteristics around the world, so, if an NDE is a hallucination, it must be a universal hallucination.”10(p36) She urged nurses to carefully listen to patients’ information regarding their experience without judgment.

Currently several researchers are exploring various aspects of the NDE and reporting the data in the Journal of Near Death Studies as well as major medical journals such as lancet.

AFTEREFFECTS OF THE NDE

Recognizing that no two NDEs are the same, it would stand to reason that the aftereffects of the NDE are unique as well. However, there are certain aftereffects that are reported more frequently than others. The most common of these include having no fear of death, less regard for material wealth, chemical sensitivities, and difficult disclosure decisions.

No fear of death

Though many state that they are not eager to die or separate from loved ones, they see death from a different perspective and therefore accept it as a part of life. Additionally, individuals who have suffered chronic pain and have an NDE often become more comfortable with death knowing that it will bring peace and comfort. On the surface, realizing that a patient may have an acceptance of death especially when death is imminent and suffering has become more apparent might bring comfort to caregivers and loved ones. However, if the patient is a small child who-now accepts death when his parents and family have not reached the same point can be very difficult for all concerned. Healthcare providers also may feel conflicted when the patient seems unconcerned about the possibility of death. Patients who request that no resuscitative efforts be taken in their plan of care may meet resistance from their health care team.

Less regard for material wealth

Near-death survivors often report a decreased desire for material wealth as they note an increase in the importance of relationships. Affluent near-death experiencers (NDEers) explain that the need for money, resources, and even fame no longer drives their behavior. As they integrate the experience and such a significant change in philosophy, they find loved ones have difficulty in accepting them as well as their life goals. Unfortunately, studies have shown that the divorce rate for NDEers is higher than the national average. Individuals who have strivecl to meet personal, financial, and spiritual goals suddenly find themselves on divided paths. For the near-death survivor the path may be lonely but acceptable.

Increased chemical sensitivity

Near-death survivors report strange reactions to certain chemicals following the NDE. Individuals state that they no longer enjoy drinking alcohol, experience hypersensitivity to medications they have used for years, as well as encounter unusual reactions to dyes used for diagnostic procedures. Problems associated with such sensitivities may include physical compromise in addition to delays in treatment when health care providers do not understand and/or accept the phenomenon.

Difficult disclosure decisions

Multiple factors which influence decision making regarding disclosure of the NDE were documented by James.11 These factors included considerations related to timing of the disclosure, the individual(s) to be told, motives for sharing the experience, as well as motives which lead to nondisclosure.

Timing of the disclosure

With regard to when the NDE is disclosed to another, James found that the NDEer may attempt to discuss part of the phenomenon immediately after the experience, or as soon as he/she can communicate, simply to validate that he/she was as close to death as was perceived. An in-depth discussion of the actual experience may not be the desire of the NDEer at such time because he/she may not understand what occurred and time may be needed for acceptance of the circumstances which led to the NDE. On the other hand, NDEers may desire to talk about the actual experience soon after the event to share with a loved one the beauty, peace, and joy of the experience. NDEers report attempting to share their story immediately, but felt as though others “did not understand, were not interested, or thought they were crazy or confused.” NDEers who do not attempt to share their story immediately report trying to tell someone as soon as they felt they “needed or wanted to. ” On the basis of the reaction of the confidant, the NDEer may wait years before disclosure may be possible.

Individuals chosen for disclosure

James concluded from her data that the NDEer will most likely attempt to tell a nurse or physician about the NDE regardless of the timing. The primary reason is because these individuals are more apt to understand the severity of the situation or condition. The next choice is typically a family member; however, a greater risk may be perceived as disclosure may impact a long-term relationship.

Motives for disclosure and nondisclosure

Motives for disclosure include the need for support or information, and because someone cared. Motives for nondisclosure are personal issues and noncaring behaviors. Personal issues may include that the NDEer feels it is not practical to share for various reasons or that he/she has negative feelings about the listener.

SUMMARY

The NDE is not uncommon, but is so profound and personal that often the experiencer desires to disclose the event immediately after it occurs. This desire frequently results in an attempt to share the event with those responsible for the care of the experiencer. Health care professionals are often in a position to promote a path of physical and spiritual health and well-being. Therefore, their increased awareness and sensitivity of the needs of the NDEer are essential.

The need to create a healing environment was first documented by Florence Nightingale12 in I860 in her Notes on Nursing. In many cases, the NDE occurs in a health care setting, such as a hospital, ambulance, or clinic, wherein the nurses and physicians, and sometimes clergy and family, are immediately available to the NDEer. Health care professionals play a key role in the promotion of an environment of healing.

The decision as to which individual(s) the experiencer will select for disclosure depends primarily on the demonstration of specific caring behaviors of the caregiver. The NDEer must recognize the promotion of a safe environment before sharing is possible. The response to the first attempt at disclosure will have a serious impact on future disclosure decisions.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Possible interventions for ED staff caring for patients who have had an NDE might include but are not limited to the following:

* Actively listen to verbal and nonverbal communication. The patient may desire to share very personal data and may be searching for permission to proceed. Remain alert to phrases like “I had a strange dream,” or “a weird thing happened.”

* Foster a caring environment. Use positive language and pleasant tones of voice. Promote a healing atmosphere in every aspect of patient care. Realize that even in resuscitation efforts patients may be aware of certain behaviors.

* Listen. Allow the patient to describe what is on his mind and do not interrupt with explanations about drugs and hypoxia. Remain nonjudgmental.

* Be there. NDEers state that they told “the nurse show was really there.” Make eye contact, slow down, look at the patient, and ask about their feelings. Hold the patient’s hand and listen. Care.

* Research. Conduct research regarding the impact of specific interventions used in the care of the survivors of near-death events.

* Allow the patient/NDEer to decide how to proceed. Respect the confidentiality of the experiencer. If he/she would like assistance in discussing the NDE with the family, assist. If he/she asks about resources, refer to the local FOI (Friends of International Association of Near-Death Studies) Chapter.

* Prepare the patient who will undergo life-threatening procedures or surgery. If the patient has had a serious compromise during a procedure, be alert for clues and ask open-ended question. Establish a safe environment.

* Answer questions. Recognize the fact that many NDEers question their own sanity and need support and information. Reorient as needed. Listen. Explain that “sometimes people who have had this type of injury or illness have told about interesting feelings or dreams.” Open the door. Validate the severity of their illness or injury.

* Inform colleagues. Assist other health care providers in understanding the significance of the NDE and the support the experiencer needs.

* Utilize available resources. For further information, such as frightening NDEs, NDEs in children, and additional aftereffects, contact the International Association for Near-Death Studies at http://www.IANDS.org.

* Share the story. Share NDEer’s stories with those who survive close brushes with death. Listen.

Near Death Experience Documentary – commonalities of the experience

Neurosurgeon Dr. Eben Alexander Discusses His Near Death Experience and His Book ‘Proof of Heaven’

 

REFERENCES

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4. Ring. 1980.
5. Sabom MB. Recollections of Death: A Medical Investigation. New York: Harper & Row; 1982.
6. Gallup G. Adventures in Immortality. New York: McGraw-Hill; 1982.
7. Greyson B. The near-death experience scale: construction, reliability, and validity. J Nerv Ment Dis. 1983:171:369-375.
8. Oakes AR. The Lazarus syndrome: eare for patients who’ve returned from the dead. RN. 1978;4l:54.
9. Orne R. Nurses’ views of NDEs. Am J Nurs. 1986;4:419-420.
10. Corcoran D. Helping patients who’ve had near-death experiences. Nursing 88. 1988;ll:34-39.
11. James DL. Factors in the Nursing Environment Which Promote Disclosure of Near-Death Experiences [thesis]. San Antonio, Tex: Incarnate Word College; 1994:74-79.
12. Nightingale F. Notes on Nursing: What il is and What it is Not. London: Harrison; I860.

Debbie James, MSN, RN, CCRN, CNS
From The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Tex.