"AND THEN I WAS BACK..." Children's NDEs with Dr. Melvin Morse

Beyond the Telling of Stories:  Studies of Survivors of Near Death

Eight-year-old Jesse Lotte nearly died of liver failure from fulminant mononucleosis. She was in the Intensive Care Unit at Seattle Children’s Hospital for three days in a profound coma, and suffered clinical death from a total body shutdown.

Yet she survived and made a full recovery.

We interviewed Jesse as part of our research study of all survivors of near death at Seattle Children’s Hospital from 1985-2000. We did not accept volunteers to our study. We had no idea whether or not the children we interviewed had any sort of experiences associated with surviving near death.

In fact, our bias was that they did not have any experiences. Our research team, comprised of the departmental heads of the Intensive Care Unit and Neurology as well as a host of medical students,  had the traditional scientific viewpoint that when you are dead, you are dead. We thought that when patients go into coma and die, consciousness ceases and they experience only darkness and then nothing at all.

We were then shocked to interview Jesse Lotte about nearly dying and hear her say that she remembered her own death. She said that she heard and saw the nurses coming into her room and bringing “that crash cart thing."  She then said “...and then I saw my grandmother (who had previously died). She was just sitting there. I was here (in her bed) and she was there (beside the bed). I was just so shocked to see her.”

As can be seen in the above picture, Jesse’s grandmother was surrounded by a...

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BUT IS IT REAL? Pediatrician Melvin Morse Reviews the NDE Research

Pediatrician Dr. Melvin Morse offers this 8-week series in response to the inquiry of one of his young patients, Chris E. The eight-year old asked Dr. Morse after having an NDE: "But is it real?"
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Chris E., age 8, asked me if his recent experience of going first to animal heaven, then human heaven, encountering a bumblebee who gave him bread, hearing heavenly music and then returning to his body was “real."
 
My team of intensive-care unit physicians and nurses had just resuscitated him after he had been trapped in the back seat of his family’s car after it flipped over a guardrail and plunged into icy cold waters. He was underwater for over 45 minutes, yet made a complete recovery.
 
He told me that during the time that we thought he was dead, he was going through a “huge noodle” to heaven. Then he scrunched up his face and had a weird look as he said, “Well, it couldn’t have been a noodle, it must have been a tunnel because noodles don’t have rainbows in them. He again said, “But was it real? Because if (what happened to me) was real, then you have to tell all the old people!"
 
As children often do, Chris quickly cut through all the noise and mental machinations about these experiences and asked the question that we all have:
 
Are these experiences real?
 
Can we trust the information contained in them? Is there...
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