[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
July 4, 1980

The Near-Death Experience-Reply

Author Affiliations

Tufts University School of Medicine New England Medical Center Hospital Boston

JAMA. 1980;244(1):30. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310010019016

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


In Reply.—  Dr Sabom takes me to task for describing the episodes as "fantasy." By using this word, I locate the phenomenon within the patient's psyche. Dreams and hallucinations may also be vivid, "visual" representations experienced as occurring outside oneself, yet we have no difficulty in recognizing them as mental productions. The alternative to the intrapsychic location would be one of something (the soul?) leaving the person in reality and hovering over the table. I do not think one has to apologize for scientific belief if one does not accept the ideas of spirits wandering around the emergency room. Rather than seeking an adequate medical explanation, one can fairly wonder about an adequate psychological explanation. Here Dr Sabom might wonder about the similarity of many of the episodes, even cross-culturally, and might relate this to what have been described as typical dreams.Since blood gases obviously cannot be monitored in