Thursday 13 December 2012


A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife
by Dr Eben Alexander

Fiona Walthall recommended this book at the recent discussion on December 9th. She writes: 

Eben Alexander is an eminent neurosurgeon who spent 15 years as associate professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School.  He operated on many patients with life-threatening brain conditions.  He has often heard stories of Near Death Experiences, or journeys in other worlds, but has always put it down to that person’s own consciousness creating these experiences.  On 10th November 2008 he was struck down out of nowhere by an extremely rare form of e-coli bacterial meningitis.  Survival rates are less than 10% and most of those end up in a vegetative state.  As he slipped ever deeper into a coma the last words he spoke were “God Help Me”.

Over the next 7 days, Eben was given antibiotics and all his fellow neurosurgeons came to give their advice on treatment.  He was on life-support machines, and by day 7 the decision was made that all the machines should be turned off and nature should be allowed to take its course.  A member of his family said, “Hang on, let’s just go and see him one more time”.  While they were there his eyes opened, he sat up, and he said, “What are you all doing here?”

After he made a full recovery, Eben looked at his own medical records and could see no evidence of any activity whatsoever in the outer area of the brain which is where ‘the bit that makes you human’ resides.  From a medical perspective it was totally impossible that his brain could have been functioning so that he could be having any thoughts or experiences at all.  Yet throughout that 7 days he was in another world, experiencing things with a beautiful companion guiding and leading him.  He had a complete memory of his experiences on his return.  The only way this was possible, this experienced neurosurgeon reckoned, was if ‘he’ had actually been there.

This is a fascinating and very readable book.  Indeed it is one of those you can’t put down.  It provides much food for thought, particularly once you read the nice little twist at the end ... but please don’t go straight to the end!

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