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...