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Some evidence that one can be aware of things after clinical death?

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Cause unknown. From Britain’s Daily Telegraph last year:

It is a controversial subject which has, until recently, been treated with widespread scepticism.

But scientists at the University of Southampton have spent four years examining more than 2,000 people who suffered cardiac arrests at 15 hospitals in the UK, US and Austria.

And they found that nearly 40 per cent of people who survived described some kind of ‘awareness’ during the time when they were clinically dead before their hearts were restarted.

One man even recalled leaving his body entirely and watching his resuscitation from the corner of the room.

One issue worth considering is that clinical death today is a defined state.

A medic told News some years ago that people are often “clinically dead” during serious operations (= they are on cardiac bypass when doctors are at the last ditch to save their lives).

Then, if it works, their hearts/lungs are jolted back to life by electric shock. So the shout goes up: All hands OFF the patient!

Smart idea, that.

A skeptical reader wrote the Telegraph at the time to enquire,

Why would people have these experiences when they are dead but not when asleep or unconscious or under anaesthetic, or in a coma?

Good question. But, first, being “under anaesthetic” is a rather specific, modern experience—as is modern high tech resuscitation. That doesn’t mean the experience is uninformative, only that it is not natural, in the strict sense that it was likely to either happen all by itself or produce a witness.

Anaesthesia: Doctors walk people halfway to death, and then walk them back.

We have much to learn.

Hat tip: Stephanie West Allen at Brains on Purpose

2 Replies to “Some evidence that one can be aware of things after clinical death?

  1. 1
    Jim Smith says:

    The AWARE study is here:
    http://www.horizonresearch.org.....on__2_.pdf

    Among 2060 CA events, 140 survivors completed stage 1 interviews, while 101 of 140 patients completed stage 2 interviews. 46% had memories with 7 major cognitive themes: fear; animals/plants; bright light; violence/persecution; deja-vu; family; recalling events post-CA and 9% had NDEs, while 2% described awareness with explicit recall of ‘seeing’ and ‘hearing’ actual events related to their resuscitation. One had a verifiable period of conscious awareness during which time cerebral function was not expected.

    A proposal for additional research is here:
    http://public.ukcrn.org.uk/Sea.....dyID=17129

    We propose a two year multicenter observational study of 900-1500 patients experiencing cardiac arrests. Cardiac arrest is defined as the cessation of heartbeat and respiration [the heart stops pumping blood causing sudden collapse and absence of breathing]. These patients need cardiopulmonary resuscitation [CPR] which is delivered as chest compressions from a rescuer or mechanical device with artificial breathing. These measures can avert death and allow potential for survival. A number of recent studies have indicated that 10% of cardiac arrest survivors report memories and thought processes from their period of resuscitation. A small proportion of survivors have also described the ability to “see” and “hear” details of their cardiac arrest. The significance and mechanisms that lead to these experiences are not fully understood – we do not know if they matter or why they happen. It is possible that patients who are able to recount these experiences may have better patient outcomes in terms of reduced brain damage, improved functional ability and better psychological adjustment to the event. We think that these patients may have had better blood flow to the brain during cardiac arrest, leading to consciousness and activity of the mind. Our target population is patients experiencing cardiac arrest in hospital [in the emergency department or hospital wards] or out of hospital [in whom resuscitation efforts are ongoing at ED arrival]. Emergency Department or Research staff will be alerted to cardiac arrest and will attend with portable brain oxygen monitoring devices and a tablet which will display visual images upwards above the patient as resuscitation is taking place. Measurements obtained during cardiac arrest will be used to compare data from all cardiac arrest patients independent of outcome [whether they live or die]. Survivors will then be followed up and with their consent will have in-depth, audio recorded interviews.

    In the first study they were trying to see if patients could see a target on a high shelf during an out of body experience. (It didn’t happen) In the second study they are looking to see if the experience depends oxygen to the brain and if the patients can see images facing upwards above their body.

    People have near-death experiences under all sorts of conditions including coma, anesthetic, etc. many are not nearly as close to death as those experiencing cardiac arrest. However the study under consideration in the article focused on cardiac arrest because it is well known that there is little or no brain function in that situation. It is a way of identifying potential experiencers, it eliminates a certain amount of variability, and if someone is having a conscious experience when there is no brain function, you have a real phenomena that needs to be explained.

    For those who might be interested…

    Anomalous Characteristics of Near-death Experiences
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....cal-death/

    Materialist explanations of NDEs fail to explain the phenomenon.
    http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/201.....-fail.html

  2. 2
    Robert Byers says:

    As before I say there is no such thing as coming back from being dead. nor watching ones body. by the way drugged people do this too.
    The fact that they didn’t die is evidence they were not dead. The soul not unconnected yet.
    i speculate they have their memory greatly stirred up and , like a dream, imagine they are watching their body. they are that stressed. Yet not asleep as such.
    By the way it means they could watch the material world without eyeballs. If so why must it be looking down? Does a floating spirit know what down is and needs it?
    Hmmmm.

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