Neurosurgeon’s story of experiencing the afterlife

A neurosurgeon recounts his experience with a coma and a Near Death Experience.

Proof of Heaven: A Doctor’s Experience With the Afterlife – Newsweek and The Daily Beast.

There is no scientific explanation for the fact that while my body lay in coma, my mind—my conscious, inner self—was alive and well. While the neurons of my cortex were stunned to complete inactivity by the bacteria that had attacked them, my brain-free consciousness journeyed to another, larger dimension of the universe: a dimension I’d never dreamed existed and which the old, pre-coma me would have been more than happy to explain was a simple impossibility.

I’m not the first person to have discovered evidence that consciousness exists beyond the body. Brief, wonderful glimpses of this realm are as old as human history. But as far as I know, no one before me has ever traveled to this dimension (a) while their cortex was completely shut down, and (b) while their body was under minute medical observation, as mine was for the full seven days of my coma.

All the chief arguments against near-death experiences suggest that these experiences are the results of minimal, transient, or partial malfunctioning of the cortex. My near-death experience, however, took place not while my cortex was malfunctioning, but while it was simply off. This is clear from the severity and duration of my meningitis, and from the global cortical involvement documented by CT scans and neurological examinations. According to current medical understanding of the brain and mind, there is absolutely no way that I could have experienced even a dim and limited consciousness during my time in the coma, much less the hyper-vivid and completely coherent odyssey I underwent.

The doctor has a book coming out on this. It has a religious ending. This type of story will appeal to the non-scientist who will use it to bolster their belief in the afterlife. But, scientifically, it is not persuasive as proof of an afterlife, no matter if a scientist tells the story or not. This is an interesting anecdote that happened to one person but it lacks a contact to what we already know. Until we can relate it to explainable functions, it won’t be persuasive. People will accuse skeptics as being closed minded and of missing out on the “more” in life but this doctor is proposing a SUPERNATURAL entity. In science, that just does not work. And if we accepted all the supernatural explanations ever proposed instead of seeking natural ones, we’d still be in the dark ages. So, it’s a good plan to look a bit more deeper into these experiences than to just accept a supernatural cause.

  13 comments for “Neurosurgeon’s story of experiencing the afterlife

  1. Julian
    October 8, 2012 at 9:25 AM

    My first question would have to be, how did this doctor know how long his hyper-vivid, out of body experience lasted? I have had vivid dreams when I’ve been convinced (in the dream) that I’m living some alternate reality, and time passing in the dream bears no relation to reality. It is plausible that in the transition from deep coma to being fully awake there was a period of dreaming, albeit vivid dreaming, of some alternate reality. I would be interested to know what evidence they have that this did not occur, and that this was something other than a dream.

  2. October 8, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    Calling something a “supernatural” experience just because the process is not understood is presumptive if that same experience is in fact a “natural” experience just not understood.

    • October 8, 2012 at 1:02 PM

      He is postulating an afterlife, Heaven and God. That’s supernatural because it defies natural laws.

      • October 8, 2012 at 8:16 PM

        Natural laws? Science and time keeps redefining what is natural, hundred years ago flight was unnatural, speaking to others ten thousand miles away would have been considered insanity, if you have never experienced a spiritual or metaphysical event you would call it impossible, if you had experienced such an event you would know better. It is easy to disregard and rationalize what we don’t understand if that rationalization supports a preconceived agenda.

        • October 8, 2012 at 8:22 PM

          We are pretty honed in on natural laws, I think. Sure there is LOTS we don’t know but regarding God and heaven? Um, I don’t think that’s going to be proven anytime soon.

    • October 8, 2012 at 3:26 PM

      The two claims are not equal. We have myriad experience with natural phenomena and none that we objectively know of with supernatural phenomena.

  3. October 8, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    Once again emotion triumphs over reason in a person who should know better. The man admits to having been a Christian before this experience so I don’t believe his claim about not believing in an afterlife.

    • One Eyed Jack
      October 8, 2012 at 2:56 PM

      Why should he know better? Because he’s a doctor?

      I worked for some time at a hospital operated by a Catholic organization. The surgery locker room was plastered with religious icons, pictures, and prayers. There is no shortage of deeply religious doctors.

  4. Roger F
    October 8, 2012 at 1:57 PM
  5. October 8, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    I call bullshit starting with the first paragraph. Hypoxia IS a scientific explanation, whether one’s cortex is allegedly “maufunctioning” or “off.” And, since the good doctor was in a coma, how the hell would he know which is the case? Talk about special pleading.

    That’s not to mention that if your cortex is “off,” you’re dead. DEAD, doc.

    • October 8, 2012 at 8:21 PM

      He could easily have acquired that information you question after he woke up and looked at the medical procedure report.

  6. Richard
    October 9, 2012 at 4:23 PM

    I’m with Julian: it could have been a dream or an artifact of the hypoxia. I myself have very vivid dreams, and very frequently (including the occasional and horrific nighmare). While I’m dreaming, it all seems very true & real – especially since many of my dreams are “sited” in real places I have been to and populated with people I know. Yet when I awaken, I know it’s false. The doctor describes himself as Christian — I cannot help but wonder if his “experience” followed Christian norms which he would expect (and hope to be true). Leading to the question: what if he were NOT Western Christian, but Eastern — Hindu, Buddhist, Confucian, Taoist, Shinto: would he have dreamt an afterlife in those traditions?

  7. Jolly
    October 10, 2012 at 3:08 AM

    The original comments to the article are worth a read.

Comments are closed.