In the skeptiko podcast interview with Dr. Melvin Morse, Morse tells of the case of a child drowning victim who had been underwater for 17 minutes and after being rescued had no heartbeat for an additional 45 minutes. Dr. Morse never saw any sign of life in the patient. At the time he thought she had died. It was only long afterward that he found out she survived.
Yet during that time, the patient experienced floating out of her body and remembered being intubated, hearing a phone conversation the doctor had, and hearing the nurses talking about a cat that died. When she regained consciousness she asked the nurses where her friends from heaven were. She also remembered that heaven was "fun".
The full interview is here.
So by chance or coincidence or fate or whatever, I happened to be in Pocatello, Idaho and there was a child there who had drowned in a community swimming pool. She was documented to be under water for at least 17 minutes. It just so happened that a pediatrician was in the locker room at the same community swimming pool and he attempted to revive her on the spot. His intervention probably saved her life but again, he documented that she had no spontaneous heartbeat for I would say at least 45 minutes, until she arrived at the emergency room. Then our team got there.
She was really dead. All this debate over how close do these patients come to death, etc., you know, Alex, I had the privilege of resuscitating my own patients and she was, for all intents and purposes, dead. In fact, I had told her parents that. I said that it was time for them to say goodbye to her. This was a very deeply religious Mormon family. They actually did. They crowded around the bedside and held hands and prayed for her and such as that. She was then transported to Salt Lake City. She lived. She not only lived but three days later she made a full recovery.
Alex Tsakiris: And what did she tell you…
Dr. Melvin Morse: Her first words, the first words she said when she came out of her coma, she turned to the nurse down at Primary Children’s in Salt Lake City. She says, “Where are my friends?” And then they’d say, “What do you mean, where are your friends?” She’d say, “Yeah, all the people that I met in Heaven. Where are they?” [Laughs]
The innocence of a child. So I saw her in follow-up, another one of these odd twists of fate. I happened to be in addition doing my residency and just happened to be working in the same community clinic in that area. My jaw just dropped to the floor when she and her mother walked in. I was like, “What?” I had not even heard that she had lived. I had assumed that she had died. She looked at me and she said to her mother, “There’s the man that put a tube down my nose.” [Laughs]
Alex Tsakiris: What are you thinking at that point when she says that?
Dr. Melvin Morse: You know, it’s one of those things—I laughed. I sort of giggled the way a teenager would giggle about sex. It was just embarrassing. I didn’t know what to think. Certainly, I’d trained at Johns Hopkins. I thought when you died you died. I said, “What do you mean, you saw me put a tube in your nose?”
She said, “Oh, yeah. I saw you take me into another room that looked like a doughnut.”
She said things like, “You called someone on the phone and you asked, ‘What am I supposed to do next?’”
She described the nurses talking about a cat who had died. One of the nurses had a cat that had died and it was just an incidental conversation. She said she was floating out of her body during this entire time. I just sort of laughed. And then she taps me on the wrist. You’ve got to hear this, Alex.
After I laughed she taps me on the wrist and she says, “You’ll see, Dr. Morse. Heaven is fun.” [Laughs] I was completely blown away by the entire experience. I immediately determined that I would figure out what was going on here. This was in complete defiance of everything I had been taught in terms of medicine.
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