Supporting NDE in the Health Care Setting
by Pam Kircher MD
Book Review by  Karin Schumacher Dyke

NDERF Home Page
NDE Stories
Share NDE (Web Form)

Kircher, Pam, M.D. (2001).  Supporting near-death experiences in the health care setting.  Paper presented at the 2001 IANDS conference.  Retrieved October 11, 2003, from


Notes taken from her own clinical experience, those of other researchers, namely Melvin Morse, Michael Sabom, and statistical information from other research on near-death experiences.


Literature review from experts in the field, self-report from Dr. Kircher�s own field experiences.


Eight million Americans have experienced near-death as the result of medical emergencies.  This is due in part to medical technology that is becoming more able to resuscitate patients after a clinical death.  Doctors and nurses are becoming more aware of this phenomenon because people are becoming more and more willing to share their experiences. Near-death experiences are not gender-related or age related.  The purpose of this presentation is to educate medical professionals about how to deal with patients who experience near-death to make it easier for the patient and his support system to deal with the information.

Important Concepts and Definitions

Near-death Experience - clinical death accompanied with successful resuscitation.  The near-death experience occurs sometime within the span between the two.


This paper is presented with information that was obtained as the result of the first hand experience of clinicians and their subsequent contact with patients who had experienced near-death.  This would qualify this study as qualitative in nature with self-report being the major information source.

Major Findings

Problems in the family often occur after a person experiences near-death.  The person experiences a major value-shift in which the become more religious, less afraid of dying, more attuned to the principals of universal love, more knowledge seeking, and less materialistic.  This can be problematic for families that know the individual as being one way and then suddenly shifting to another.

Also problematic for families is an increased sensitivity to violence, both portrayed in the media and in real-life.  These sudden sensitivities are hard for families to understand.  This lack of understanding leads the adjustments that families must make to accommodate these sensitivities as being difficult for the entire family.

The shift of the near-death experiencer wanting to �learn for learning�s sake� and being in love with the world can be misinterpreted by the family of near-death experiencers.  They may see this shift as so drastic that they cannot adjust.  They may also see the changes as the near-death experiencer lacking the loyalties that once facilitated the inner-workings of the family.