When is Dead Really Dead?
Death is a Process – Not a “Moment in Time” Event?
This is a morbid subject. Talking and thinking about death – of ourselves, of our loved ones. If you’re happy to continue, I’ll be interested to know your thoughts.
ACCORDING TO respected author P.H Atwater, who has studied and written numerous articles and books on the subject of death and Near Death Experiences, being brain dead isn’t quite enough to be declared medically and legally dead – and here is her explanation of why:
“It didn’t take long for brain death to be deemed unsuitable as a dependable criterion (to pronounce someone dead). That’s because too many patients who were brain dead tested with biological activity up to SEVEN days afterwards, and too many of those used for organ donation showed increase in blood pressure and heart rate as organs were being removed.” P.H Atwater, in the Book of Near Death Experiences.
This startling comment from the author really caused some big questions to arise within my mind: if even brain death isn’t enough to pronounce death, is there more we could be doing through medical science and health care professionals, to ensure that dead really means dead? It has come to light through science advancements that death really isn’t a one time event, but rather a slow devolution, a process whereby the body shuts down in phases.
Of course, tied in with this line of thinking is the powerful subject of the Near Death Experience. Encountered by many the world over (and often during a state when the person has been declared clinically dead) NDEs have often been touted as proof of an after-life: people leave their bodies and are able to see, hear and remember things they should not be able to (because they are at that time dead before being revived). They report travelling through tunnels of light, seeing deceased relatives and even facing a ‘movie’ of their life from beginning to end. These experiences are, by many, valid and real – and even some scientists now admit that there is at least a possibility that consciousness is separate from mind.
If, however, we arrive at a new assumption: death is a slow process and perhaps our minds are still functioning, (even when this doesn’t register on a hospital monitor), then perhaps the NDE is happening when some kind of life is still in the person. Therefore – does this undermine those that seek to use NDE as proof of an after-life? I personally am undecided.
Outside of the paranormal/after-life aspect to these thoughts, there is a harsh and important reality – when IS dead really dead? We have all come across chilling tales before, of those who were almost buried, but were later found to be alive, or morgue staff who, about to move a body, find that the individual is actually still alive.
In August of 2015, a tragic story was reported by the Express newspaper about a young lady who was three months pregnant, but after collapsing was pronounced dead by a doctor only three hours later. However, friends and family heard banging and shouting from within the coffin but when they lifted the coffin out – they were too late. She was dead. (Read full story here: http://www.express.co.uk/news/weird/600659/Woman-wakes-from-dead-coffiin-buried-alive )
Above, family members remove the coffin, photo from the Express
Or, there is the recent account from UK newspaper The Mirror, who reported a morgue worker found a man alive – in a fridge. The man had been pronounced dead after a serious road crash, five hours after being left in the morgue’s fridge. (Read the full story here: HERE
Above photo, courtesy of The Mirror
As a result of the above story, the family are looking into how their relative was pronounced dead – and if anything could have been done differently to save him as a result.
It’s a dark and morbid subject, not one that many will want to focus on. However, death – whether you believe in the after-life/paranormal or not – is a part of all of us, and I do feel that this warrants more attention and thought. Is there a way we could do things differently? And for those that believe in the power of NDE, do you still feel this brings us confirmation of the after-life, or merely a result of a dying brain?
I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Thank you.