October 15th, 2009
07:33 PM ET

Near Death Experiences

David Puente
AC360° Producer

Do you consider death to be black or white? There’s no in between? Or do you view death as a more complex state with shades of gray?

This week I produced a couple of segments for Anderson and Dr. Gupta leading up the upcoming news special, Another Day Cheating Death. In it Dr. Gupta takes a look at several near death experiences like a case in Norway that set a record as the coldest patient ever to live.

The story is about Anna Bagenholm, an MD who was declared clinically dead when she arrived by helicopter at the University Hospital of North Norway. She had suffered a horrible ski accident.

Bagenholm's heart had stopped. She hadn't taken a breath in more than two hours, and she was so cold that her core body temperature was just 56 degrees.

Dr, Gupta tells us what saved her and what doctors can learn from her case to save others. But the question I most wanted answered was: When is someone really dead?

Bagenholm explains how complicated that was in her case: “I was dead…Not in the manner of law. I wasn't dead. But my brain it was still working but my heart stopped. If you ask a child, they would say I was dead for three hours. but if you ask a doctor, they have to say I was not dead. Because I wasn't brain dead…I was clinically dead.”

Dr. Gupta adds that if she had been in a hospital without a heartbeat for three hours, she would likely have been pronounced dead.

So do you know anyone with a near death experience? Tomorrow we look at another miraculous case of a heart attack victim who recalls floating away from her body and heading towards a tunnel and light. You might be surprised how many people report similar experiences each year, around the world. What’s interesting is the main difference in these recollections between people in Western cultures and those in other parts on earth. Dr. Gupta will explain this too in his special.

For more tune in tonight on AC360.

Follow David on Twitter @puenteac360.

Filed under: 360° Radar
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