The Extraordinary Case of Pamela Reynolds

This is the extraordinary case of Pamela Reynolds’ Near Death Experience during extreme surgery. It was so unique, so spectacular, that many said no further research in Near Death Experience was necessary. It took place in 1991 and has been debated among scientists ever since. Many say this was the definitive proof of Near Death Experience.

In 1991, doctors diagnosed Mrs Reynolds as having an aneurysm (a swelling of an artery) in her brain. It could burst any time, meaning instant death. To make matters worse, the defective site was right at the centre of her brain in an area very difficult for surgeons to reach. The doctors were very open with her. Without surgery, death was certain. However, given the location of the aneurysm, she had only a 50:50 chance of surviving the only surgical process that could save her life.

Normal human body temperature is about 37 degrees centigrade (98.4 degrees Fahrenheit). When it drops below 35 ºC, the person suffers hypothermia. At below 32 ºC, shivering stops and they require emergency treatment, but even there’s a very real probability that they’ll lose the fight. Once anaesthetised, they dropped Pam’s body temperature to just 10 ºC (50 ºF). To help put this into its true perspective, this is only 5 ºC above the temperature of the refrigeration units in hospital morgues.

To add to the enormity of Pam’s situation, they now drained all the blood from her head. Under any other circumstances, they would have declared Pam dead long ago. As the surgeon started cutting through the bone of her skull, Pam realised she was outside her body. From a viewpoint just over the surgeons shoulder, she could see everything he and his colleagues were doing.

Obviously, Pam survived surgery. Later she was able to recount exactly what the surgeon did. She described with great accuracy, the tools the surgeon used, the special box they came in and everything people said. One thing puzzled her. Why, if operating on her head, was there so much activity down by her legs? The answer was simple. It was from the arteries in legs that they drained the blood from her body.

Unfortunately, Mrs Reynolds died in 2009 from causes totally unrelated to her aneurysm.