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July 4, 1980

The Near-Death Experience

Author Affiliations

Emory University School of Medicine Veterans Administration Medical Center Decatur, Ga

JAMA. 1980;244(1):29-30. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310010019015

To the Editor.—  In a recent COMMENTARY (242:2291, 1979), Richard S. Blacher, MD, points out that the "life after life" experience of the dying patient tells us nothing of the final state of death itself. Furthermore, he urges that misinterpretation of this experience could be avoided with a closer examination of the phenomenon.I have recently conducted a systematic investigation of these experiences in 107 persons known to have survived an episode of unconsciousness and near death (ie, cardiac arrest and coma).1 Using standardized interview techniques, the social, religious, and demographic backgrounds of each person were evaluated along with the details of each medical crisis event and any possible recollections from the period of unconsciousness. Like Blacher, I have concluded that these experiences are not by themselves prima facie evidence of life after death. Thus, "near-death experience" (NDE) becomes an appropriate label. Furthermore, I concur that a closer examination

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