POSTED: 9:01 am EDT April 30, 2004
The NBC 10 Investigators tracked down a doctor in Seattle whose research may come closer to anyone else to answering the question, is there life after death?
Dr. Melvin Morse is a pediatrician who used to think that people who were interested in near-death experiences just wanted to be on television talk shows.
But something happened to one of his patients that changed his opinion. Now he believes the evidence points to something after life.
Most scientists will explain that near-death experiences are caused by the lack of oxygen in the brain in the last moments of life.
But Dr. Morse believes he's found evidence that it is a glimpse of something beyond our existence.
"I interviewed a 6-year-old boy," said Dr. Morse. "We resuscitated him. He opened his eyes and he dramatically said, 'That was weird, two guys just sucked me back into my body.'"
Dr. Morse is a respected pediatrician. He was a skeptic about the issue of life after death until he was confronted with a story he couldn't explain away.
"She was what you would call clinically dead," explained Morse. "She was under water for 19 minutes."
After the 7-year-old girl was resuscitated, she started drawing pictures.
"What she described to me was not a hallucination. It was a blow-by-blow accurate description of her own resuscitation, but from a bird's eye point of view," said Dr. Morse.
The child believed she had to go back to her body to help her mother with her unborn brother. She drew her unborn brother with a big red heart. Several months later her brother was born with heart disease.
"How can dying, comatose patients perceive anything? That's what fascinated me," said Dr. Morse. "I knew that something important about human consciousness was to be learned."
Dr. Morse has recorded dozens of interviews with children who have experienced near death. He says he finds the experiences with children to be the most pure.
Dr. Morse says he doesn't believe in God himself and he has little interest in the experiences many adults often have reflecting their own religious beliefs and cultures.
Critics say it is because Christians tend to see Jesus and Indians see Hindu gods, the near-death experience doesn't seem scientifically credible.
Social worker Kimberly Clark Sharp says she couldn't come to terms with her own out of body, near-death experience until one of her own patients had one.
Sharp's patient went into cardiac arrest. After she was resuscitated, the patient insisted she had risen out of her body and floated up around the hospital where she saw a blue tennis shoe on the third floor ledge.
To calm down her patient Sharp went to look. "I did find a blue tennis shoe on the ledge," said Sharp. "She got everything right as she described it to me."
"It's clear even when people are flat lining in the last moments of life, something profound is happening," said Dr. Morse. "It is something today's monitors can't pick up."
Dr. Morse's findings have been published in medical journals and he's working to see if something physically changes in the right temporal lobe of the brain when someone has a post-death experience.
"One child told me it was a light who told her who she was and where she was to go," said Dr. Morse. "I want to interact with that light that tells us who we are and where we are to go while we're still alive. That to me is a challenge of the near-death experience."
Dr. Morse believes you can get in touch with that part of the
brain through prayer, meditation, even the rhythmic movement
of knitting. There's no absolute proof, but he believes that
people who have that near death experience are stepping into
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