Ever wonder what kind of near-death experience that a person in a persistent vegetative state had?

Thousands of people have reported NDEs during the time their heart was stopped and brain not receiving blood flow and oxygen.

Often, these individuals are faced with choosing between crossing some threshold (beyond which they won’t be able to “return” to their body), or “going back” to their body.

In other cases, they want to cross over, but are “forced” back into their body. Many are shown, while having the NDE, snippets of what their future holds. This may include an arduous medical recovery.

Obviously, none of these NDE’ers came back as vegetables. However…just what kind of NDE does someone who ends up in a permanent vegetative state have?

Let’s assume that cardiac arrest (regardless of cause) results in what we know as the near-death experience.

This means we can assume that Terri Schiavo and Nancy Cruzan both had the same NDE (as far as common themes) as did any one of the NDE’ers who have shared their story on nderf.org — a site created by NDE researcher Jeffrey Long, MD, author of the New York Times bestseller, “Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-Death Experiences.”

Dr. Long is a radiation oncologist in Houma, Louisiana.

Schiavo and Cruzan lived for years in a persistent vegetative state before dying. Quinlan lived for nine years in an irreversible coma before dying, though some reports say persistent vegetative state.

One has to wonder: Were these three individuals, along with the hundreds of thousands of other people who live as vegetables or in irreversible comas, told during their NDE that they’d be returning to their bodies as a vegetable?

Were they told, “It’s not your time; you must go back, but you will be in a permanent vegetative state”? Or were they only told, “It’s not your time; you must go back”?

And then they felt themselves going “back,” having no idea what was in store?

Or perhaps some of them tried to cross over after being told of their fate, but were “forced” back through the tunnel.

Maybe some had no idea what fate awaited them back in their bodies, but tried to cross over anyways.

Were NDE’ers who came back as vegetables okay with the news from spirits, angels or deceased loved-ones that they’d be coming back as a vegetable? Here’s what Dr. Long says:

“When someone is told, ‘You can cross over or you can go back; the choice is yours.’ we cannot assume that they were informed that they would be in a vegetative state.

Many NDE’ers who are given a choice to cross over or return are shown a future vision of their earthly life if they choose to return.

“They may be shown how difficult the recovery is from their life-threatening event.  They may also be shown how difficult the future life will be.

“It is possible that some people having an NDE knew they would return in a vegetative state and chose to do so.

“Since this group of people cannot communicate well (or at all), it may be difficult to know this for sure.  We can only understand NDE from people who return and are able to adequately communicate the experience.

“We simply don’t know about the experience of those in a vegetative state, although my best guess is that they have NDEs similar to all others, and I suspect many are aware that they would return in a vegetative state, but understand that there are important reasons for them to do so.  This is speculative.”

One More Thing to Consider About NDE’ers Who Return As Vegetables

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A common thread among NDEs is the absence of time perception. Time stops. Time is endless. Time doesn’t exist.

Suppose a person is told, “If you go back, you will be a vegetable.” But that person has also learned, via near-death experience, that in the grand scheme of things, living out the rest of their life in a vegetative state will serve a significant purpose.

Knowing this, and also knowing that one day they will indeed cross over the “barrier” to the eternal paradise, this individual welcomes returning as a vegetable.

Now here’s something very riveting to consider: From a family member’s point of view, this individual’s vegetative state (or permanent coma) is harrowing. But from the patient’s point of view…it may seem like only moments passed.

Suppose they go “back” to their body and live another 20 years in a vegetative state. Then they die for good. That’s 20 years.

But from THEIR point of view, since they had NO awareness during that 20 years…it will seem like only seconds passed—and before they know it—they are once again seeing the brilliant light and deceased loved-ones welcoming them to cross over for eternity. Thus, the decision to return as a vegetable would be quite easy.

But this begs a question: What about vegetative people who, years later, briefly come out of this state and have awareness?

There are a few cases in which a person who was in a PVS for years mysteriously popped out of it enough to speak with family members, then slipped back into it and never aroused again or aroused only a few more times, then died.

Well, from their point of view, time passage between their first NDE and actual death 25 years later, with one or two episodes of, say, five weeks of consciousness in between, would seem like only the time passage of those five weeks of consciousness.

But then what about those individuals who come back from an NDE as vegetables—but after years like this—exhibit signs that all along, they’ve been aware?

Functional MRI brain scans have shown “lit up” areas of the thinking part of the brain in several such patients, suggesting that these patients can hear and have full consciousness—but no way to communicate—not even by squeezing their eyes shut.

And if that’s confounding, what about people who, after cardiac arrest (and presumably an NDE), come back to live for years in a minimally conscious state?

dr. longAs a leading NDE researcher and a medical doctor, Dr. Long has appeared on national media including NBC Today, ABC with Peter Jennings, the Dr. Oz Show, the History Channel, the Learning Channel and National Geographic.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  
Sources: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cruzan_v._Director,_Missouri_Department_of_Health        en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terri_Schiavo_case       nature.com/news/neuroscience-the-mind-reader-1.10816