January 25, 2014

Intensive care nurse writes about Near-Death Experiences

Penny Satori, an intensive care nurse, has a new book about to come out in Britain entitled The Wisdom Of Near-Death Experiences, 
which is excerpted today in the Daily Mail, Extraordinary new book by intensive care nurse reveals dramatic evidence she says should banish our fear of dying

Back in 1995, I began to wonder: is death so terrible that we must do everything in our power to delay it with powerful drugs and machines? What is death, anyway? What happens when we die? Why are we so afraid of it?
….. I decided to embark on a PhD on near-death experiences, while continuing to work in intensive care.

I began my eight-year study as a cynic. But by the time it  ended, I was convinced that near-death experiences are a genuine phenomenon.

So what exactly is a near-death experience? At its simplest, it’s a clear and memorable vision that occurs when people are close to death — though only a small percentage of us will have one.

Researchers now agree that each vision will contain at least one of several recognized components, such as travelling down a tunnel towards a bright light, meeting dead relatives, or having an out-of-body experience.
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Throughout an NDE, hearing and sight become more acute, and awareness is heightened. Often, the experience has been described to me as ‘realer than real’.  Time ceases to have meaning. In many cases, it feels as if the vision has lasted for hours though the person may have been unconscious for only a few seconds or minutes. Sometimes, it feels as if time speeds up; sometimes it goes slower.
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Yet NDEs are not a new phenomenon at all; they’ve been reported throughout history.

They also feature in some of the greatest books in history — including the Bible; The Republic, by the ancient Greek philosopher, Plato; and the Tibetan Book of the Dead, an ancient religious text about the interval between life and rebirth. It’s only in the past few decades, however, that scientists have tried to discover what causes NDEs.

The most common theory is that they’re a quirk of the brain when it’s starved of oxygen. But this now seems extremely unlikely….Could NDEs, instead, be a side-effect of high levels of carbon dioxide in the blood, which can be another sign of approaching death? Again, unlikely.
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Are NDEs merely hallucinations caused by drugs? Clearly not — as 20 per cent of the patients in my sample, including Tom Kennard, had received no drugs at all.

Indeed, when I analysed my research, I found that pain-killing and sedative drugs, particularly at high levels,  seem to make it less likely that a patient will have an NDE. In other words, well-meaning doctors who over-sedate dying patients may be denying them a natural and comforting final vision.
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One thing is clear: research has shown that near-death experiences often lead to a spiritual reappraisal…. they generally become more considerate of others…..Two lesser-known after-effects of NDEs — reported by many researchers — are that some people develop a new sensitivity to electricity or have problems with their wristwatches. Sometimes they don’t even connect the fact that their watch can’t keep time — or stops altogether — with what they’ve been through.
Posted by Jill Fallon at January 25, 2014 8:26 AM | Permalink