The Wisdom of Near-Death Experiences: How Understanding NDEs Can Help Us Live More Fully by Dr Penny Sartori will be released on 18th February 2014

2 Dec

The Wisdom of NDEs Cover

I’ve got a little bit more information on what the book is about. As you all know by now, the reason I became interested in NDEs is because of my job as an intensive care nurse. Early in my career, my life changed when I was working a night shift while looking after a dying patient. Having been so upset about the way in which this man died I was determined to find a greater understanding of death so that no other patient would have to go through a similar ending to their life. That was back in 1995 and the experience of looking after that patient is what continues to motivate me to this day to understand death and enhance care of dying patients.

See the first short clip at the following link:

 The book has many examples of NDEs, empathic death experiences and other anomalous experiences that occur around death from people who have written to me over the years. I also draw on experiences from my nursing career and the doctoral research I conducted while working in intensive care.

 When I reflect back on my research, I realise that we have been so busy trying to pathologise NDEs that we have missed a big point and that is the message that NDErs have for us all. Very often there is great wisdom in what NDErs have to say and by hearing what these people have to say, this is something we can all benefit from without having to nearly die.

 The second video is slightly longer and can be viewed on the following link:

Endorsements of the Book so far…

 A big thank you to Dr Pim van Lommel who took the time to read the manuscript and write the foreword to this book at very short notice. A big thank you also to Dr Jeffrey Long, Professor Bruce Greyson, Professor Paul Badham, Professor Janice Holden all of whom took the time to read the manuscript and write an endorsement.


 You won’t want to miss this exceptional book!  Dr. Sartori is uniquely qualified.  She conducted one of the most important prospective near-death experience studies ever reported.  As a nurse she works daily with dying patients.  This book is scholarly in content, yet easy and delightful to read.  This highly recommended book contains a treasure trove of wisdom that is powerful, inspiring, and could change your life. 
Jeffrey Long, M.D., author of the New York Times bestselling Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-Death Experiences.


With more than twenty years experience of nursing dying people in an intensive therapy unit, plus a Ph.D. in Near-death Experiences, Dr. Sartori   is very well qualified to discuss issues of death and dying. She believes that NDEs provide us with a  greater understanding of the dying process and that care of  terminally ill patients  could be enhanced  if NDEs would more widely studied. A greater acceptance of the inevitability of death would help the situation of terminally ill people. At present they are increasingly exposed to invasive and burdensome treatments even when prospects for recovery are recognised as minimal. This book is an immensely valuable contribution to current debates about patient care.      

Professor Paul Badham, Professor Emeritus of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Wales Trinity St David.


“Nurse Penny Sartori was driven by an experience with a traumatized dying patient to study near-death experiences, not to pursue what might happen in an afterlife but rather to improve what happens in this life.  Her goal was to learn all she could about the dying process in order to help her patients find meaning in their illness and restore a sense of well-being in their lives.  The Wisdom of Near-Death Experiences, the fruit of her labors, is an invaluable resource for health care workers, for dying patients and their families, and for all of us who will face death eventually.”

Professor Bruce Greyson, M.D. Carlson Professor of Psychiatry & Neurobehavioral Sciences Director, Division of Perceptual Studies Dept. of Psychiatry & Neurobehavioral Sciences Box 800152 University of Virginia Health System Charlottesville, VA 22908-0152



In this well written and open-hearted book Penny Sartori describes how near-death experiences can have a great impact for our healthcare system as well as for our still death denying and materialistic society. By doing research into NDE and being able to listen with an open mind to critically ill and dying patients in the intensive care unit she totally changed her ideas about life and death. She quotes many impressive stories of patients who reported their NDE to her, and she shares with us her new insight: live your life well and don’t leave things left undone until the time of your death. By reading this important book we are able to reap the benefits of the NDE without having to nearly die. Highly recommended, not only for healthcare workers and for patients with an NDE, but also for terminal ill patients and their families.    

Pim van Lommel, cardiologist, author of ‘Consciousness beyond Life’.


Dr. Sartori has masterfully crafted a comprehensive summary of research on near-death and related experiences that is both accessible to the interested public and informative for many healthcare professionals. This work has the power to remind people of their purpose in living and to provoke a revolution in the more humane treatment of the dying.  

Janice Holden, Ed.D., LPC-S, LMFT, NCC, Chair Department of Counseling and Higher Education
Professor, Counseling Program
College of Education
University of North Texas
1155 Union Circle #310829
Denton, Texas


 A huge thank you to all of the patients in my study and to the people who have contacted me and written to me over the years and allowed me to share their experiences in this book. By sharing their experiences they are helping others come to terms with their own experience and also conveying a greater understanding of what NDEs really are to those who have never had such an experience. Thank you to you all, you have been my greatest teachers.

 I would like to say a big thank you to Steve Balsamo and Gareth Davies for their help with making the videos, both of whom gave up their time and expertise to get this film made in such a short space of time. Thank you also to Steve for letting me use some of his music in the film.

Steve Balsamo is singer / songwriter / musician, very well known for the lead role of Jesus Christ Superstar in the West end, London and lead singer of the band The Storeys who supported Elton John on his world tour. Check out his website:

 Steve interviewed me for BBC Radio Wales earlier this year and he has been very supportive of my work and without his encouragement I wouldn’t have made this video.

 Gareth is a graphic designer and his company also specialises in DSLR film making as well as a whole range of other services such as website design. Check out his website:


60 Responses to “The Wisdom of Near-Death Experiences: How Understanding NDEs Can Help Us Live More Fully by Dr Penny Sartori will be released on 18th February 2014”

  1. grahamnicholls December 2, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

    Congratulations Penny! I can’t wait to read it!

    • Dr Penny Sartori December 2, 2013 at 6:28 pm #

      Thank you Graham. I’m sure the followers of the blog will also be interested in your very important work.

      Here is a link to Graham’s website:

      • grahamnicholls December 2, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

        Thank you Penny, if there is anything I can do to help do let me know.

      • Dr Penny Sartori December 2, 2013 at 6:44 pm #

        Thanks Graham, I’ll be in touch.

  2. rudyink December 2, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

    Fantastic, Penny — I can’t wait to read it! Pax, Rudy

  3. john scovell December 2, 2013 at 6:41 pm #

    I can’t wait to read it! Its that in our culture we deny death even though our TV screens are full of it every night. I feel life is not a race to be run but an experienced to be enjoyed or just to be experienced.

    • Dr Penny Sartori December 2, 2013 at 6:45 pm #

      Hi John, thank you so much. I really like what you say and totally agree. I think that it is through confronting death that we really learn so much about life.

  4. Stuart December 2, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

    Best of luck with it

    • Dr Penny Sartori December 2, 2013 at 7:47 pm #

      Thanks Stuart

      • Lola Escarpa December 3, 2013 at 9:24 am #

        Congratulations Penny!!! I need to read it. I know it will be something so especial … We are really lucky to have the chance to read a book about NDE written by you. It´s a present of life. Thanks for writting it. A big kiss from Madrid. Lola

      • Dr Penny Sartori December 3, 2013 at 4:56 pm #

        Hi Lola, thank you so much. I hope all is well at IANDS Spain, I look forward to meeting up with you all again soon.

  5. Alan December 2, 2013 at 10:16 pm #

    Really best wishes with this! – and your future work.

  6. richard030456 December 2, 2013 at 10:33 pm #

    Hello Penny, Thank you for the ‘trailer’, I will certainly be hunting for a copy (or can I buy a signed copy from yourself?) With best wishes and all good luck with the launch, Richard.

    Date: Mon, 2 Dec 2013 17:07:31 +0000 To:

  7. john scovell December 3, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

    ‘Live your life well…’ But what is living your life well?

    • Dr Penny Sartori December 3, 2013 at 4:59 pm #

      Hi John, mmm… yes that is a good question. I guess for me it is about being in the moment, gratitude for all that I have in my life and less worrying. It is unique to us all and we all have different perceptions of what living our life well means.

  8. André December 3, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

    I’m pretty sure it will be a well rounded book and a great addition for the understanding of NDE’s. I can’t wit to read it. It might need some time for translations ? I would like to give it as a present to my parents but they do not speak english 😦

    • Dr Penny Sartori December 3, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

      Hi Andre, thank you. It may be translated into other languages in the future, I’ll let you know if it is.

  9. Zelda Hall December 3, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

    I am really looking forward to reading your book! Thank you for getting your knowledge and experience out in to the world. I think this is such an important aspect of NDEs – what they can contribute to living life more fully and from the heart. Your book will help us all to be able to talk more openly about the real meaning of life- and death. I enjoy the way you write- which seems to me also very much from the heart.

    • Dr Penny Sartori December 3, 2013 at 5:06 pm #

      Hi Zelda, thank you very much. I hope the book lives up to everyone’s expectations. My research has had such an impact on my life that I would really love to pass on what I have learned so that others may benefit too. The patients I have nursed and the NDErs I have spoken to really have been my greatest teachers.

  10. Robert Perry December 3, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

    How exciting! I love the title and can’t wait to read it. I’m so glad to see the enthusiastic endorsements from some of the leading lights in the field. I wish you all the best–a wide readership and an enthusiastic response.

  11. Ken Ebert December 4, 2013 at 11:06 am #

    Congratulations, Penny! This is a great accompaniment. Will it be released in the U.S. right away? I am so happy for you.

    • Dr Penny Sartori December 10, 2013 at 10:02 pm #

      Hi Ken, thank you so much. I think it will be released in the U.S. a few weeks later.

  12. Christian December 5, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

    Hi Penny, do you know if the book will be translated into other languages and distributed to other countries? Thanks a lot and congratulations for your work. I’m still skeptic but trying to find out the truht (and you blog is helpìng me a lot).

    • Dr Penny Sartori December 10, 2013 at 10:04 pm #

      Hi Christian, thank you. I think it may be translated into other languages but I’m not sure when. It is good to question everything, I am so glad the blog is helping.

  13. tim December 6, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

    Hi, Penny, don’t worry about the book living up to any particular expectations, if it’s anywhere near as good as your first publication, it’ll be great. I just loved the way you did that first book, it was so original in it’s presentation.

    “The Near death experiences of hospitalized intensive care patients” was of course too expensive for most people (including me I got it from the library) but I’m sure this one is going to be a big seller. Best of luck with it.

    • Dr Penny Sartori December 10, 2013 at 10:05 pm #

      Hi Tim, thank you for for your kind words, they are greatly appreciated.

  14. hen December 9, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

    Can you write more about the patient that he met his dead relatives?did You had more cases like this?
    I really love your work and I am reading you blog for a long time

    • Dr Penny Sartori December 10, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

      Hi hen, thank you I’m glad you like the blog. In my study the most common element of the NDE that patients reported was meeting deceased relatives. Myself and my colleagues witnessed one patient having a deathbed vision. We had called his family into the hospital in the middle of the night because it seemed likely that he would die but his conditioned improved and the family were exhausted so went home. My colleague then drew my attention to the patient who had opened his eyes and had a big smile on his face. He appeared to be having a conversation with people who we could not see. We all remarked on how happy he looked. The next day when his family returned he told them that during the night he had been visited by his dead mother and dead grandmother but he was very puzzled because his sister was with them. His sister had actually died the week before but the family had not told him because they didn’t want to set back his recovery. His family were very comforted by what he told them.

      There are quite a few examples like this in my forthcoming book.

  15. john scovell December 11, 2013 at 1:04 am #

    Really fascinating about the man having a vision of his sister who he did not know had died. As a matter of interest if a family are not present when a relative dies do they feel guilt? The reason I ask is I was with my Dad on the day he died but not at the time cos the hospital staff told me to go home cos I was looking tired and my mum was feeling faint and sick. and I got phone call at two in the morning to say he had died. The next day the ward sister said u can never really tell long it can go on for. But I just wished I had been there too give him comfort.

    • Dr Penny Sartori December 14, 2013 at 11:45 am #

      Hi John, yes it was quite amazing to actually watch it then speak to his family the following evening when they told he what he had said to them.

      Your question is a good one and this is something I mention in my forthcoming book. I think we have more control over the time of our death than we realize. I have nursed so many patients in similar situations as the one you describe with your father. The hospital staff were right, we really don’t know how long those situations can go on for. I too have seen how exhausted family members have been and have also suggested that they take a break. What I noticed to be a common pattern was that as soon as the family left the bedside, the patient usually deteriorated further then died very quickly. There were many times when I had to run to the hospital cafe to call relatives back to the bedside because their loved one had deteriorated so rapidly. Often the family were upset because they were not there but from my observations I then thought of the possibility that it was the love of the family that was keeping them alive for so long and that on some unconscious level they were ready to go and make their transition into death. From a broader perspective, it may be seen that the family actually made the transition into death a little easier for their loved one because they weren’t there. To me, leaving my family and loved ones behind would be the hardest thing to do so I guess it may be easier for me if they weren’t there.

      There are so many different aspects of death that I came to think about as a result of doing my research and it really reiterates to me how little we currently understand about death because it has been considered a taboo subject instead of being embraced.

  16. john scovell December 14, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

    The ward sister did say the see people hang on until visited by relatives and die and other wait until they go. I did feel a lot of guilt but apparently that is normal

    • Dr Penny Sartori January 2, 2014 at 11:10 am #

      Hi John, yes it is normal to feel guilt. I agree with what the ward sister told you. I have witnessed many similar situations and it seems that people have far more control over the timing of their death than we realize – even when the patient is unconscious and not responding to their loved ones at the bedside.

  17. GalinaB December 18, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    Hi Penny, i have been following your blog posts for a while and am really interested in your work. I cannot wait to read your forthcoming book which i have no doubt will be a success! Recently, i have come across an interesting interview by Mira Kelley – she is a past life regressions. her website is I am wondering, did you ever encountered people becoming aware of past lives they lived and suddenly remember. I am not sure i can make sense of it but find it rather fascinating.

    • Dr Penny Sartori January 2, 2014 at 11:20 am #

      Hi Galina, thank you for your comment. I haven’t come across Mira Kelley but will check out her website and I’m sure other followers of the blog will be interested in her website too.

      I haven’t spoken directly to people who recalled a past life during an NDE but I have come across people who have recalled a past life experience either spontaneously or through exploratory techniques such as hypnosis. I read Roger Woolger’s book many years ago which I found very interesting and I found it fascinating that some ailments in this life have been resolved following past life regression therapy. Whether that is due to actual past lives or just a means of addressing those ailments is unclear but there appears to be great therapeutic benefit in this type of work.

  18. Hanan December 20, 2013 at 6:01 pm #

    Off topic, but I thought you might be interested.

    “During the AHA meeting, Dr. Sam Parnia, head of intensive care at Stony Brook University Hospital in New York, reported early results of a 25-hospital study of how frequently cardiac arrest survivors see or hear things while their hearts are stopped. Of 152 survivors interviewed, 37 percent said they had recollections from the unconscious period. Only two recalled actually seeing events and one described any events that could be verified. None saw images mounted in the treatment room as part of the experiment.”

    • Dr Penny Sartori January 2, 2014 at 11:24 am #

      Hi Hanan, thank you for this link it is very helpful. That is quite a high percentage of recollections from the unconscious period. I wonder what percentage of the 37% met the criteria for an NDE. Very interesting that there appear to be 2 OBEs one of which was verified – I hope this case is written up in great detail.

  19. Max_B January 18, 2014 at 7:58 pm #

    Ha… in just 4 weeks time your ideas will finally be launched into the world! If it were me, I’d be both extremely excited and extremely nervous. 🙂

    • Dr Penny Sartori January 24, 2014 at 8:00 pm #

      Hi Max,

      I’m not sure about excited – I think I’m just extremely nervous!!!

  20. Pawel January 25, 2014 at 6:02 pm #

    This reminds ayahuasca rituals very much and also a lot of those elements can be easy experienced using high doses of ketamine (especially for telepathy experience) and amphetamines (for experiencing fly through life and state of judgement). And DMT comes pretty close to time disruptions.

    • Dr Penny Sartori February 11, 2014 at 3:22 pm #

      Hi Pawel,
      Yes, there are many common components between NDEs and the types of experiences you mention. If we consider consciousness from the perspective of being primary rather than produced by the brain then it is plausible to suggest that there can be many ways in which this consciousness can be accessed. Hopefully future researchers will explore the possibility of consciousness being primary.

  21. Pauly Pops January 25, 2014 at 6:29 pm #

    Hi Penny,

    I was wondering if this book would be made available via digital means? I prefer my books Digital these days and would love to read this on my Kindle.


    – PP

    • Dr Penny Sartori January 27, 2014 at 12:28 pm #

      Hi PP, yes the book will be available on Kindle from Amazon. I hope you enjoy it.

  22. Maritza Peña January 26, 2014 at 4:54 pm #

    Hi Dr. Penny! Congratulations on your book. I will definitely read it! Just want to tell you that I had an experience and wonder if it would fall under the NDE category.
    About four years ago I was waking up in the morning when all of the sudden I felt an excruciating pain in my stomach, I tried to walk and fell unconscious. During the few seconds I was unconscious I found myself in a dark room, then a door opened and there was a bright light. Three figures came from the bright light, walked towards me and stood in front of me. They didn’t try to communicate with me and I didn’t sense that they were relatives, however, I felt calm and at peace. It kind of felt good to be there. After that I woke up fine without any pain. My husband couldn’t believe I didn’t get hurt. He said that I fell on the night stand and hit my chest, then, I bounced back and hit the back of my head. He was nervous trying to get me to the emergency room, but I was feeling fine.
    A few months after that I started getting strange sensations in my body before great things or bad things would happen in my life or the life of those around me. But one thing is for sure, I am not afraid of death at all.

    • Dr Penny Sartori February 11, 2014 at 3:34 pm #

      Hi Maritza,

      Thank you for your comment and for sharing your experience. I was very interested by what you have written. What you experienced does fit into the category of being an NDE. Many people who have an NDE also report ‘feeling fine’ after such an event and that there are no signs of any physical injury – it sounds as if you had quite a fall when you hit your chest and then the back of your head and it obviously caused concern for your husband.

      The strange sensations you describe after your experience have also been described by other people who have had an NDE. At present we don’t understand why this occurs but I’ve spoken to many people who intuitively know when something is going to happen because they get unusual sensations beforehand. It is also very common to have no fear of death after the experience too.

      Thank you for sharing this, it is very helpful to me.

  23. Evelyn January 28, 2014 at 1:48 pm #

    Hi Penny,

    Please check your email subject With title **** encounter with Anna….
    I couldn’t believe it when I read her account on daily mail.

    • Dr Penny Sartori February 11, 2014 at 4:19 pm #

      Hi Evelyn, sorry for my delayed reply to your email. I will reply as soon as I can. I’ve been snowed under with emails but I will reply, your email is very important to me. Thank you for being so patient with me.

  24. Gwyn March 9, 2014 at 11:48 pm #

    Hi Penny good luck with your book. Just read an article yesterday of a lady in Ottawa who can leave her body at will. Apparently she’s been checked with an MRI by medical authorities. It would appear that we know very little about consciousness and a lot more will come out in the years ahead that will amaze people.

    • Dr Penny Sartori March 10, 2014 at 5:09 pm #

      Hi Gwyn, thanks for your comment. Yes, this article is really interesting and I’m so pleased to see other scientists taking these experiences seriously. I think we really are living in exciting times and more research in this filed will lead to exciting new discoveries about consciousness.

  25. john scovell March 10, 2014 at 5:35 pm #

    Hello Penny, I think I gave u the example of a yoga teacher of mine of found himself out of his body an in friends flat and later verified there was some new furniture or something in the flat that he had not seen before his OBE. The same teacher also had a conversation with a friend in a dream and then carried on the conversation when he meet him in real life! Explain that if u can!

    • Dr Penny Sartori March 30, 2014 at 11:18 am #

      Hi John,

      Sorry for my slow response – I’m still having a really busy time and finding it difficult to keep up with my blog and the volume of emails I’m receiving.

      Yes, the example of your friend’s OBE is very interesting especially as he was able to verify some new furniture he hadn’t seen before. Interesting that he was able to continue the conversation with his friend when he met him in person. There is still much to learn about consciousness, it is a truly fascinating subject to me.

  26. tamsinthait March 30, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

    I cared for my husband who had cancer at age 54, at my home in Thailand. One morning I found him talking and gesturing to someone I couldn’t see. He passed 2 days later, whilst I was out of the room. Two years after that my mother, in the UK, contracted vascular dementia. She became lucid the day before she passed and went around thanking all the nursing staff for taking care of her.

    • Dr Penny Sartori May 9, 2014 at 2:37 pm #

      Hi Tamsin, thank you for sharing these really interesting experiences with the blog. I was especially interested to read that your mum, who had vascular dementia, became lucid the day before she passed. These experiences have been witnessed by so many other people too in similar situations, I am so grateful to people who are willing to share these experiences with others thank you so much.

  27. Lauren July 30, 2014 at 7:21 am #

    Hi Penny,

    I’ve been reading through your site for the past two days and I’d like to thank you. Your studies show how open minded and unbiased you are towards the subject, which is a great thing. You’re actually rather inspiring. If you don’t mind, I’d like to ask a couple questions. First off, before thoroughly researching NDE’s what was your opinion on the subject? Many scientists and doctors don’t study the subject deep enough and often dismiss the experience as a by-product of neurological activity. By societies standards, anything that seems impossible is, and whatever is written in textbooks is correct. They leave no room for improvement or questioning. Another question I have, which actually confuses me is how come not everybody has a NDE? How come some people remember the white light and all the classic signs, yet others comeback without any memories of the time? Does this effect the validity of NDEs? Does it possibly make the experiences false? My third (and final) question is, in your opinion do NDEs show that some sort of afterlife is possible? And by afterlife I don’t mean the typical heaven in the clouds and hell in brimstone/fire. I mean as in the conscious departs and goes somewhere else. Maybe an afterlife or someplace we just don’t understand yet. By the way I’d like to thank you for responding to everybody’s comments. I’ve read through your blog and you don’t ignore any comments. You answer to the best of your ability, and I respect that. There are plenty of authors’ who take no time to answer questions. I look forward to reading your book in the future and wish you the best of luck in your studies 🙂


    • Dr Penny Sartori July 30, 2014 at 11:20 am #

      Hi Lauren,
      Welcome ot the blog and thank you for your kind comments. You’ve asked some good questions which I’ll answer below.

      1) Before I did any in depth study of NDEs, like many people, I just believed they were hallucinations and the brain’s way of coping with impending death. I’d always had that belief instilled in me and at that stage saw no reason to question it. In fact, when I was a first year student nurse a patient told me that when she’d had a cardiac arrest she had left her body and looked down on herself in the bed then gone through a tunnel and met her dead mother who told her she had to go back. At the time, I listened to what she said but didn’t question her further because I just assumed it was a hallucination because she’d been given diamorphine. It was only when I became more curious about NDEs a few years later and started reading a lot more about them that my views began to think of alternative explanations. When I began talking to people who had an NDE and really engaged with them, that was when I really thought that there is much more to NDEs than I had previously believed.

      2) Yes, I’ve also thought why is it that some people have an NDE but others don’t. I’m not completely sure of this but a possible explanation is that all people who have a cardiac arrest or close brush with death do have an NDE but simply don’t recall it. The reason I say this is that about 10 years ago I had an email from a lady who had come close to death and was hospitalized for some weeks as a result. She’d been violently attacked in her home and left for dead. She could recall the attack and then falling to the floor but that was all, she had no other recollection of what happened after that other than waking up in the hospital. What was interesting about this lady’s experience was that a few months later she had to return to hospital for an operation to repair her fractured nose. As she was anaesthetized she re-experienced the attack and falling to the floor however, this time she recalled leaving her body and hovering at a point near the ceiling and then described an NDE (I can’t recall the full details, I’d have to look them up).

      3) With regards to an after life I don’t think it’s as simple as continuing on with our lives in another location. I think it is our understanding of consciousness and how a revised view could answer this question a little better. The current materialist / reductionist view is that consciousness is created by the brain. However, this view of consciousness can’t adequately explain NDEs and now that hospital research is being conducted into NDEs it is very apparent that NDEs occur and they can no longer be simply dismissed because they can’t be explained. My NDE research and nursing experience has convinced me of the authenticity of NDEs so I have been considering other explanations of consciousness. What makes more sense to me is that consciousness is eternal and is mediated through the brain. This has been called ‘non-local consciousness’ by Dr Larry Dossey and others such as Dr Pim van Lommel. This is not a new theory, it was considered many years ago by people such as William James, Henri Bergson and Aldous Huxley but the theory was never developed because the materialist / reductionist view was never questioned and NDEs had not been studied to the depth that they have been now. I think it was Pierre Teilhard de Chardin that said ‘we are all spiritual beings having a human experience’ and that seems a possible explanation at this point. Maybe the conscious part of ourselves is eternal and continues to function even when the body dies???? I don’t know but I’m enjoying my continued research and studying this fascinating and inspiring subject.

      We live in exciting times and I find it really fascinating exploring other possible explanations of consciousness.

      • Lauren August 2, 2014 at 7:25 am #

        Thanks for the reply Penny! I’ll definitely have to look into the non-local consciousness theory, it certainly sounds interesting. If you don’t mind, I have a few more questions.

        1. Have you come across or heard of any cases in your study where a person was flat-lined or brain dead and had a NDE?

        2. What do you think of the theories that currently exist which try to discredit NDE? Such as the surge of brain activity theory or oxygen deprivation theory or dying brain theory.

        3. Why do you think scientists and doctors are so against NDEs? Do you think there will come a time in the future where the experiences are more accepted and believed?

      • Dr Penny Sartori August 12, 2014 at 2:21 pm #

        Hi Lauren,

        Thank you for your comment and questions. I’ll answer them below:
        1) In my hospital research 39 patients had a cardiac arrest and flatlined. Out of those, 7 reported an NDE. Patients who are diagnosed as brain dead do not recover therefore couldn’t be part of the research.

        2) I think it is important to explore all possible theories and this is what I tried to do with my hospital research. With regards to the lack of oxygen theory, there were a few patients in my study who had an NDE while their oxygen levels were normal. At the time of the experience some of the patients were connected to a ventilator and therefore receiving oxygen and their levels were normal on the monitor and on the blood samples that were extracted at the time.
        With regards to the dying brain theory, some patients gained information that they weren’t previously aware of before their NDE so a dying brain doesn’t explain that aspect either.
        I think it is really important to continue exploring all possible explanations for NDEs.

        3) I think NDES have not been taken that seriously until recently as they appear to contradict current materialsit beliefs. According to materialist beliefs consciousness is a by-product of the brain. Therefore, in accordance with this belief, NDEs should not be possible therefore must only be hallucinations. However, now that hospital research is being conducted, this research is showing that people are clearly reporting heightened states of awareness at times when their brains are severely physiologically insulted. I think it is only a matter of time until NDEs are recognised as a very valid phenomenon that should be included in the education of all health care workers.

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