A phenomenal collection of medical patient accounts of encounters with the mysterious during severe illness and life-threatening injury from the voice of the physician who took care of them. Both touching and thought-provoking, this book invites you to reconsider what happens when we die, and in doing so, challenges you to ponder that perhaps we are much more than our earth-bound physical bodies.
Near-death experiences are often profoundly meaningful, yet when they are reported, they are frequently met with skepticism and dismissal by medical caregivers and family members. But do we have to fully understand these events to honor the transformative role they often play in the lives of those who experience them? Do we need to prove they are something more than the result of illness, medication or a dying brain to acknowledge their power to impact lives in a positive way?
For nearly twenty years, Dr. Laurin Bellg has been present at the bedside of critically ill and dying patients. As she has worked to create an accepting and supportive relationship with them, her patients have shared with her the mysterious experiences they sometimes have during moments of crisis of apparently seeing beyond our physical world. In telling their engaging, powerful and sometimes humorous stories, Dr. Bellg invites the reader to consider that bearing witness to a patient's near-death experience is a respectful and meaningful part of medical care, a way for families to support their loved ones, and an important part of the patient's healing.
"The boundaries between life and death are at best shadowy and vague.
Who shall say where one ends and where the other begins?" - Edgar Allen Poe
“No one has addressed so well the need to offer a helpful response to those reporting a near-death experience…Dr. Bellg’s book addresses the heart of the matter.”
- Janice Holden, Ed.D., Chair, Dept. of Counseling and Higher Education, University of North Texas, Editor of Journal of Near-Death Studies
“My time with Dr. Bellg’s book was profound: inspiring, comforting, and a gentle reminder of so much that I can easily forget. Also, it helped me to pause for reflection on some of my own personal journey.” - Patricia A. Muehsam, M.D., Founder of Transformational Medicine
“Laurin Bellg writes beautifully - I couldn’t put the good down…(her) writing is clear, well-organized and reaches both the lay person and the most sophisticated surgeon…The book leads the reader on a fascinating journey, exploring the different aspects of near-death experiences and demonstrating the need to keep an open mind about the phenomenon, because we don’t know the whole story yet.”
- Robert Mays, researcher in near-death studies and board member at the International Association of Near-Death Studies
"Near-Death in the ICU will be a book worth waiting for. I've read many of Dr. Bellg's stories in various publications and can't wait to see them together in one collection."
"This will be an exciting, life-affirming account of phenomena of consciousness that will change how you think about death - and life!" - Eric Sanderson
“I can’t find the damn bleeder!” he heard the surgeon say in frustration. “Keep the blood coming. If you can’t get it fast enough, then I want plasma! Now!” The surgeon’s panic was only barely veiled by his intense determination not to lose this battle.
Dr. John heard it all; he saw it all. He was astonished at how aware he was as he looked on. Then a sound distracted him and his attention was drawn to the slowing of his heartbeat on the monitor near his head. At the same time, he felt himself drifting farther away from the drama of his surgery. The last thing he recalled of that scene was the surgeon cursing and yelling out that they were losing him and his own solitary thought, “I must be dying.”
His next awareness found him completely and peacefully enveloped in what he could only describe as a soft shroud of mist with tiny points of light blinking in and out quickly as they moved all around him. He felt completely weightless and peaceful, void of any fear. The feeling of love was immense, almost unbearable, and recalling it now, Dr. John’s voice became fragile as he paused to fight back tears.
Regaining his composure, after a few moments he continued. He described floating in such a beautiful and bright place of total peace that he lost all thoughts and concerns related to anything connected to his physical existence. He was aware of nothing except how good it felt to be there where he was – wherever that was. How long he lingered in this space, he could not say because time had immediately lost meaning for him.
Suddenly, though, he heard a very distinct voice say gently but firmly, “You can’t stay, John. It’s not your time to die.” Whether the voice was male or female, he couldn’t determine, but it was commanding and he did not protest its directive. Instinctively, he knew it would be pointless to argue.
Still feeling peaceful and detached, he felt himself descending and slowly his body came back into view as the mist surrounding him dissipated and he could once more hear the clamor and tension of the operating room. Hovering above the scene, he watched the weak representation of his pulse on the monitor slowly gain strength as the resuscitation efforts of the surgical team reclaimed their hold on Dr. John’s physical body.
ABOUT LAURIN BELLG MD
I am a critical care physician working with very ill patients in the ICU. My training prepared me to help care for the very sick, but it did not prepare me for encounters with the unknown. Over the past twenty years I've heard numerous mysterious and beautiful stories that patients have returned from the brink of death to share with me. They are both incredible and life-affirming.
Several years ago I began journaling about these miraculous moments. When one of these stories was published, I was excited and inspired by the response and knew I had to write a book of my own.