Skip to comments.What It's Like to Die, According to an ICU Nurse
Posted on 05/25/2015 9:30:31 AM PDT by NYer
Palliative and intensive care units at hospitals have a close relationship with death, giving rise to many experiences that defy any rational explanation. Patients who foresee the exact time when they will die; others who seem to decide for themselves the day and the hour, moving their death forward or delaying it; family members' prophetic dreams or presentiments on the part of third parties who, without even knowing that someone has been brought to the hospital or has suffered an accident, are certain that he has died.
Only healthcare professionals who work closely with terminally ill patients know first-hand the extent and variety of these strange experiences. Science has not been able to offer any kind of answer, and so these experiences are usually described as paranormal or supernatural. This label is "too vague for the significance of these experiences," explains the British nurse Penny Sartori, who has worked for nearly 20 years in ICU.
Such a career is sufficiently solid for her to have seen everything, recognize patterns and come up with a hypothesis regarding these phenomena. So much so, that she has a doctorate on these questions, whose principle conclusions were published in the book The Wisdom of Near-Death Experiences (Watkins Publishing).
"Visions" shared with family members
Throughout her career, Sartori has interviewed patients who have had near-death experiences (NDE), as well as family members who have had shared death experiences (SDE). The number of these experiences and the repetition of patterns make her discard the hypothesis of chance, or of it being impossible to find a logical reason for this widespread phenomenon.
Her main thesis is centered on the idea that "our brains are separate from our consciousness. In other words, the brain may be channeling what some people call the soul, rather than responsible for creating it." This idea would explain, she adds, why "the soul and enhanced consciousness can be experienced separately from the body," as in NDEs or in Buddhist meditation. The examples that Sartori uses in her book are numerous, but they all tend to coincide in that the patients who have these NDEs are always those who end up embracing death most peacefully and happily, as do family members who have a premonition of the death of their loved ones. Why? According to interviews with these family members, it is because they are convinced that death is only the end of their earthly life.
Independent of whether they are believers, agnostics, or atheists, all of them have a dream or a vision about how their family member leaves this world guided by someone spouses who have already died, anonymous beings or angels and with a clear sensation of "peace and love." At first, Sartori says, "it struck me as odd that some family members of the deceased didn't feel sad after foretelling the death of their love one, but when I interviewed them I realized that they were peaceful because they had experienced this sensation of life's transcendence."
Choosing the "most appropriate" moment to die
This is the case of the people who, knowing when they will die, ask to be alone for a few minutes, or die exactly when a family member, who stays at their side constantly, leaves them for just a moment to go to the bathroom. Other equally noteworthy cases are those of people who die just after seeing a family member who has been delayed in arriving to see them because he or she was out of the country, or when all of the paperwork for inheritances and life insurance is finished. "They appear to be waiting for a specific event to take place before they can permit themselves to die," the nurse says.
The cliche that "healthcare professionals think they're omniscient" seems to be rooted in reality.
ping for later
Having lived thru the passing of my beloved. I think that it might be easier on those who pass than those who are left.
Oh good! Then she can tell us if God really exists.
It’s what comes after dying that you have to be prepared for.
Good post. Makes me want to read the book. I have deaths ahead of me soon and I’d like to see some of this happen for my beloved parents who both have Alzheimer’s.
It will be 18 years ago on Tuesday that my mom left us - and left me and the hospice nurse on duty and the lady who helped with mom for years with an incredible GIFT!
Mom was a stroke patient for about 2 years - she was at home as that was my parents’ decision. All but 2 of the 7 of us kids were around during the weekend; it was Tuesday and I stopped by after taking my kids to school to see if I should really go to work that day. I wasn’t in the room 3 minutes - greeting the two ladies there - when Mom, who had not made a sound in days, all of a sudden made a sound of utter joy and let out her last breath.
We have no doubt she is in heaven with our Lord.
They have many stories to tell about this subject.
As you might expect, all the hospice workers were all quite devout.
having suffered a brain injury along with noticeable effects on personality, I think the brain is more than just a conduit. However I do believe in a soul.
A study like this was done many years ago:
My sister basically informed my mom that it was time to go. And she went.
I read a story last week about the possibility of “uploading” one’s brain into a computer in the future, with the idea that it would keep the person “alive”. I thought that sounded really wrong, but couldn’t articulate why.
Here it is: “our brains are separate from our consciousness. In other words, the brain may be channeling what some people call the soul, rather than responsible for creating it.”
The family were gathered around his bed waiting for him to pass. He would lose consciousness for a few minutes and his breathing would become very shallow.
But then, just when he had almost stopped breathing, he would become conscious again and exclaim "it's wonderful...beyond anything you can imagine."
He did this 3 or 4 times before he passed.
There has been NDE’s that have taken place that do help.
Same here and I don't want to wait a long time to see her again.
I lost my youngest child about 5 years ago, and while I have a “good life” it seems to be just a waiting period until I can see him again.
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