Examining Reports of Near-death Experiences

Street Science

 

 
 
 

Keith Wesley, MD, FACEP | | Monday, October 29, 2007


Review of: Greyson B: "Consistency of near-death experience accounts over two decades: Are reports embellished over time?" Resuscitation. 73(3):407-411, 2007.

The Science

The author of this paper had the opportunity to question 117 individuals who had a near death experience (NDE). He interviewed them in the 1980's and had them complete a questionnaire with an NDE scale. At the time of the first questionnaire, they averaged 49 years of age; their NDE occurred an average of 17 years previously. Two decades later, he made contact with the 79 individuals who were still living and had them complete the questionnaire again.

This questionnaire, which has been well validated, examines four factors. The NDE scale consists of 16 multiple-choice items comprising four factors. The first factor addresses cognitive processes, including accelerated thought processes and a "life review." The second addresses such affective processes such as intense feelings of peace and joy. The third factor addresses such purportedly paranormal processes as a sensation of being "out of the body." The fourth addresses experiences of transcendence such as encounters with what are interpreted as religious figures.

The NDE scale has high internal consistency, split-half reliability, six-month test -- retest reliability and correlation with prior measures of near-death experience. Each of its 16 items differentiates independently close brushes with death with and without near-death experiences. A recent Rasch rating-scale analysis established that the NDE scale yields a uni-dimensional measure with interval-scaling properties that differentiates near-death experiences qualitatively and quantitatively from other responses to the threat of death.

He concluded that contrary to expectation, accounts of near-death experiences -- particularly reports of their positive effect -- were not embellished over a period of almost two decades. These data support the reliability of near-death experience accounts.

The Street

Not to make light of the subject of near-death experiences during Halloween, I found this article very interesting and consistent with my Zen philosophy that there is indeed something beyond this materialistic world.

We should take such studies seriously and modify our behavior around the dead and nearly dead patient. They hear us, and accounts of their experiences appear to be credible. This sounds spooky to some, but for me it reinforces the need to be compassionate with our patients during their passage from this life to the next.


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Industry News, Obituaries, Research

 
What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS





 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Progress

Follow in the footsteps of these inspirational leaders of EMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

University of Pittsburgh STAAMP Trial

Trauma experts launch tranexamic acid trial.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

New York Ambulance Service Begins Using Power Cot

Service is first in county with new technology.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Traffic Cam Captures Wisconsin Ambulance Crash

Driver of ambulance cited for failing to operate safely.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

New Mexico Hospital Mourns Helicopter Crash Victims

TriState CareFlight pilot and crew killed in crash.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Moscow Subway MCI

At least 20 dead and 150 injured in subway derailment.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Hands On July 2014

Check out the latest products and innovations in JEMS.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Wounded Veteran Resiliency

Marine is one of many in quality of life study.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >