Penny Sartori is a registered nurse who began researching Near Death Experiences (NDEs) in 1995 after one of her long-term intensive care patients begged her to let him die in peace. The event shook her deeply and eventually led her to enroll in a PhD program to research NDEs.
Sartori studied three samples of ICU patients during a five year period. The first consisted of 243 patients from the first year of data collection who survived their ICU experience. Of those, two experienced an NDE, and two an out-of-body experience (OBE). The second cohort consisted of survivors of cardiac arrest during the five year period. Of those, 39 patients (or 18%) experienced an NDE. The third cohort consisted of all the patients who experienced an NDE during the five year period.
One patient in particular, patient number 10, stands out for Sartori. “He was in bad condition,” she says. “When we put him into bed he was unconscious and unresponsive. Later he reported an OBE. He was accurately able to tell us which doctor was in the room and what he had said while he was unconscious. He claimed to have met his deceased father and a Jesus-like figure. But the most extraordinary part was that afterwards he was able to use his hand, which had been paralyzed since birth. There is no medical explanation for how that healing occurred.”
Sartori says, “In medicine, we’re trained to believe that the brain gives rise to consciousness. My research into NDEs has made me question this prevailing paradigm, which admittedly is very widespread. The most important lesson for me has been a deeper appreciation for death and a whole lot less fear and anxiety about it.”
In addition to detailing dozens of case studies, the book also discusses childhood NDEs, differences in NDEs among different cultures, and the after-effects of NDEs--one of which is the inability, in some patients, to wear a wrist-watch.
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