One of the greatest mysteries known to man is what happens to us when we die? Many people have either been on the brink of death or have actually been declared clinically dead and came back to life.
What did they see? What did they experience? Do they hold the key to what indeed happens to us when we die? Alternatively, are their experiences merely tricks of the mind?
Thanks to the advances in medical science, leading to the increased resuscitations of the dead, an increasing number of near-death experiences (NDEs) are being reported. Several of these survivors have come forward to share their experiences of what happened to them on the other side.
Recently, scientists have taken an interest in trying to answer the question, what constitutes death and when does death occur. A new international study is attempting to apply science to one of life’s biggest mysteries, death.
“When you think about it, most people out there think of death as a moment; you’re either dead, or you’re not,” claims Dr. Sam Parnia of Weill Cornell Medical Center. “But what we’ve found is there is no moment of death; it begins when your heart stops, and it goes on for a period.”
Dr. Parnia is the author of the book “What Happens When We Die” and the driving force behind the AWARE (Awareness During Resuscitation) study which tries to add some medical people who say they were conscious as doctors tried to restart their bodies after death. By learning from people who have been brought back from the dead, doctors might learn how to save lives better, he believes.
Dan Piper’s Story
One of the more famous cases of a person coming back from death is the case of Baptist minister Don Piper. Twenty years ago a 16-wheeler crashed, head-on, into Dan’s Ford Escort while crossing a bridge in Texas. It’s incredible that Piper is even still around to tell about the accident.
“I was killed instantly,” Piper says. “I was immediately struck, crushed by the roof of the car collapsing, the steering wheel impaled me on the chest and the dashboard collapsed on both of my legs.”
Paramedics couldn’t find any sign of life in Piper at all, so they covered him with a tarp while they waited for the medical examiner to arrive. A fellow priest came to Piper’s side and prayed over him, however, as he was singing “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” Piper began to sing along. This was a whole hour and a half after he was assumed dead.
Piper says he died and went to heaven. He wrote a best-selling book, “90 Minutes in Heaven.” In the book, Piper details being at the Pearly Gates, surrounded by other believers, and listening to songs that have never been heard on earth. Piper has also established a ministry based on his death experience.
Dr. Parnia has begun a study that examines these death experiences which he believes may help doctors be more successful in bringing more people back to life after death.
“The study will allow us to discover the nature of the human mind and consciousness; it might open a new branch of science,” Parnia explains. “We’ll know better methods of resuscitating cardiac patients.”
“With ever-improving discoveries, we will be able to bring even more people back to life from clinical death,” Parnia continues. “It’s paramount for physicians to be able to provide a scientific understanding of what happens to the brain and body and, more importantly, the human mind and consciousness, during death.”
In the U.S. and Europe, 25 hospitals are participating in the AWARE study. However, they don’t expect results overnight, Parnia predicts a report on the study’s findings won’t be available for at least three years.
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