Dr. Michael Sabom explained to interviewer Kelly Burch that he thought the notion that the mind could have out-of-body experiences in NDEs was “hogwash.” But he had spoken to professionals who insisted they are real experiences. So he investigated.
“A patient named Pam Reynolds changed everything,” he said. “Despite [being in a medically-induced near-death state], Pam heard and saw everything during the operation.” Pam had a giant aneurysm at the base of her brain. In order to remove the aneurysm, Pam was put into a surgical procedure called hypothermic cardiac arrest in which her body temperature was cooled to sixty degrees Fahrenheit and her heart and breathing were stopped. The blood was removed from her body. She was in a dead state. Twenty doctors, nurses, and technicians took part in the surgery.
What she described about the procedure after she was revived startled her doctors. Dr. Sabom interviewed Pam and was amazed to hear her describing accurately what was going on while she was in a death-like state. She said she became aware of a musical tone and then felt like she “popped out of the top of my head.” She then said,
The further out of my body I got, the more clear the tone became. I had the impression it was like a road, a frequency that you go on … I remember seeing several things in the operating room when I was looking down. It was the most aware that I think that I have ever been in my entire life … It was brighter and more focused and clearer than normal vision … There was so much in the operating room that I didn’t recognize, and so many people.
Pam went on to describe accurate views of the operating room and equipment, visions of light, and interactions with deceased relatives. She described the bone saw the doctor used as looking like an electric toothbrush. She was right about all the details.
Dr. Sabom concluded,
There’s a growing acceptance of NDEs, but they’re still hard for many people to acknowledge. Our scientific and medical training is based on material proof—we want to be able to measure something and hold it in our hands. You can’t do that with NDEs or the idea that there’s consciousness outside the brain, but I’ve become convinced that doesn’t make these phenomena any less real.