The woman who woke up just in time

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This article comes from the Independent newspaper. It describes the instance where a woman, who was thought to be dead, woke up as the medical staff were wheeling her in the operating theatre to have her organs removed as a transplant donor. To quote from the article, ‘her eyes opened in response to the bright lights in the operating theatre, causing doctors to immediately call off the procedure.’

Not surprisingly, everyone involved was quite shocked. The hospital involved, St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Centre in Syracuse, was a professionally run hospital that had highly trained staff and modern technology, and yet they had completed failed to spot that their patient wasn’t actually dead.

Mainstream medicine is of the view that when someone undergoes cardiac arrest, stops breathing and their heart stops, they are dead. To confirm this prognosis, the medical can staff can carry out an E.E.G. or electro-encephalogram, literally ‘electric brain message’ . If the E.E.G. indicates that there isn’t any activity in the patient’s brain, they’re definitely dead. From a biological point of view, there’s no way a person can stay alive soon after their heart stops. Once blood, and its vital contents of oxygen and glucose, stops being pumped to the brain, the cells in the brain should die within minutes, causing irreversible and complete brain death.

The only problem with this approach is that it isn’t actually true. There are many instances where someone recovers after their heart has stopped beating for half an hour or more. But this flies in the face of the standard view of the brain. The brain can’t survive after a few minutes of zero heart beat so it’s impossible someone can recover their full faculties after minutes of heart failure. And yet they do…

In the next article, I’ll review a book that looks into this strange situation and comes up with some profound conclusions.

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