“From a vantage point outside her body”

“From a vantage point outside her body” March 17, 2018


Aerial view of Mario Beauregard's hospital
Vue aérienne Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal    (Wikimedia Commons public domain)


I’m still reading Erasing Death: The Science That is Rewriting the Boundaries Between Life and Death, by the Anglo-American expert on cardiac-arrest resuscitation Sam Parnia, M.D., Ph.D.  Dr. Parnia, a former fellow in critical care medicine at the Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City, was an assistant professor of critical care medicine at the State University of New York and its director of resuscitation research at the time that this book was published in 2013.


Here’s another passage from the book:


Dr. Mario Beauregard, a Canadian neuroscientist, conducted a study with patients who underwent deep hypothermic circulatory arrest (DHCA) at Hôpital Sacré-Cœur, a research hospital affiliated with the Université de Montréal, between 2008 and 2010.  These were patients who had been cooled down to an incredible 18°C (64.5°F) from 37°C (98.5°F), a point at which the brain stops working, and doctors can stop the circulation without causing permanent damage.  The body is so cold that the cells have so little metabolic activity that even though they are starved of oxygen and there is no blood flow or circulation, they don’t become damaged.  This gives surgeons time to safely operate on patients without any circulation.  Biologically this is the same as what happens to someone who has died.  This surgical procedure was employed in patients to repair aortic defects where they couldn’t have been placed on a heart-lung bypass machine.  The main object of Beauregard’s study was to estimate the prevalence of conscious mental events during DHCA.  Of the thirty-three patients whose cases were examined, three patients reported conscious mental activity and were interviewed for the study, and one reported having an out-of-body experience.

The patient was a woman who had just given birth and required immediate surgery to replace the ascending aorta.  According to Beauregard, the woman did not see or talk to the members of the surgical team, and it was not possible for her to see the machines behind the head section of the operating table as she was wheeled into the operating room.  She was given general anesthesia, and her eyes were taped shut.  Still, she claimed to have had an out-of-body experience (OBE) at one point during the surgery.  From a vantage point outside her body, she described seeing a nurse passing surgical instruments to the surgeon.  She also perceived anesthesia and echocardiography machines located behind her head.  Beauregard was able to verify that the descriptions she provided of the nurse and the machines were accurate.  Furthermore, during the experience, the woman reported feelings of peace and joy, and seeing a bright light.  (142-143)



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