Near Death Experiences and Dying

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A discussion of near death experiences and how doctors choose to die.

This week Brett Newcomb and I are talking about death. In particular, we are discussing the phenomena known as near death experiences and shared death experiences. You might wonder why we wanted to talk about this topic.

We recently attended a Hay House (our publisher) Authors’ conference where Brian Weiss, M.D. did a presentation. Dr. Weiss is a classically trained psychiatrist and author who has written about his work with patients who have past life regressions. When he first began to do this work, it was very controversial. Many do not now and did not then believe in this concept. Dr. Weiss contends that it is not relevant whether or not the therapist believe it when patients that report past life memories or experiences. What matters is whether or not the conversation alleviates the symptoms and misery of the patient. Do they obtain relief and feel better in their lives? It does not matter what you call it nor does it matter if you can prove it really happened.

As an extension of the conversation in regard to Dr. Weiss, we naturally began to share stories about our mutual patients who have shared with us their own near death experiences and what those were like for them. As part of that sharing, I told of my own near death experience. As it turns out, my story turns is similar to all those that are reported in the literature. For me, though, it was extremely powerful and emotional and led to a complete change in my feelings about dying, and in my direction for living.

We also found that the Missouri Medicine magazine, a magazine for physicians and medical practices, has published stories focusing on different aspects of death and dying in America today.

One of these articles discusses the shared death experience, which is very similar to the near death experience of the patient, except that there are other participants in the event. Those working in the operating room, the emergency room or the family and loved ones of the dying patient all report that they felt or saw the same series of events that the revived patient reported.

Finally, we talk about another article in Missouri Medicine that focuses on how doctors are choosing to die. The author makes the case that many physicians do not submit themselves to extreme measures at the end of life. They prefer to accept that they are dying, and to obtain palliative care and die, rather than be intubated, put on respirators, and have thousands of dollars spent for perhaps a week or month of continued illness and pain. The article discusses that many of these same doctors do not provide this option for their patients, and speculates about why that is.