I've been following the story of the teenage boy in Alabama who was pronounced brain dead. His parents had just signed the paperwork for organ donation when all of a sudden he began to respond. He has now said that while he was unconscious (my confusion is that he was supposedly brain dead) he walked along a field and he believes he was in heaven. Then later his mom says the color of his eyes has changed and that is a sure sign he was reborn. I am shaking my head in confusion and wonderment. Was he really not brain dead and the doctors called it incorrectly? Can a brain dead person return to a state of near normalcy after 15 minutes of being in that state? I know he wasn't in "heaven" but if he was dreaming would that not indicate he could not have been brain dead? What do you think of this news story?
Remembering a dream at the beginning or end of unconsciousness is not uncommon nor are slight changes in eye color especially with glaucoma my eyes are much less blue than ten years ago....after the application of electronic sensors to various spots on the skull I ALSO DO NOT TRUST busy er staff to doubt every micro step in triage pressure
I've seen one patient who was pronounced brain dead have a recovery. I view psuedo brain death as the brains equivalent to "take the battery out for a few minutes and put it back in". The weird fact is we as humans have only unlocked a small portion of the brain and what it can do. There is still a ton of mystery in it. I don't buy for one second that God brought this kid back, but I do think there are a lot of things that can cause a psuedo brain death. It's fascinating that people can recover from things like that, but I don't think it has anything to do with some magic man in the sky. If that were so, how many people of faith should have been spared? Bah. All I know is that we don't know much.
Eyes can change colour, they may change back quickly.
The brain dead thing concerns me, but only a little.
The dreams may not have occurred until the instant he was coming out of it, there is no time in the brain.
Though I do worry about how final brain death is now.
First of all, most of that story from the boy's point of view was largely fabricated. I think medical technology arrived to a point where we can reasonably determine that after physical death and organs shut down there is/could still be some activity going on in the brain hours after being pronounced dead. This would explain the visions the boy had (just a dream by the way) as there certainly was still some activity going on in his brain. This would also explain so-called near death experiences. I think stories like this suck (I am glad that a young boy survived though) because the religious fanatics will pounce on it at the first opportunity and say "see we told you god and the afterlife are real". I can only hope that story fades away quickly and people forget about it.
For those asking for a link, @MelBates has provided one here: Boy, 13, regains consciousness after parents sign papers to donate his organs | Fox News
@LadyAlyxandrea's comment re. "pseudo brain death" is interesting. I suspect that in this case the patient was not in fact brain dead, but in a state so close to it that the doctors treating him were unable to distinguish between it and actual brain death. Being in such a state is likely to do some very dramatic things to the brain's chemistry; therefore, one possibility is that he did not in fact dream, but has false memories of doing so.
Another possibility, of course, is that he and his mother made the story up, either because they want to convince others that heaven exists or because they wanted to get in the news - I imagine the likes of the National Enquirer would pay a tasty sum for an exclusive interview, after all.
Ok, this is not the same, but I'd like to relate one of my experiences in the hospital. This was quite a few years ago, but I had gone in to the emergency room for chest pain and palpitations, so my doctor spoke with the ER by phone and wanted me admitted because he felt I was too young to be a candidate for a standard heart attack and wanted to find out what was going on.
A little while later, a resident came over and hooked me up to a different EKG/heart monitor and turned it on. The reading looked fine for a while, then just trailed off.... So I called the doc in and asked him what had happened. He looked at the machine and then looked at me and started to get visibly nervous and told me I had just had a myocardial infarction, although I was sitting up breathing and speaking to him. It turns out, it was just a broken heart machine - not the one in my chest, either - I just have a mitral valve prolapse.
I guess my point is that weird stuff happens in hospitals!
Brain plasticity, the 'ability' of the brain to repair trauma, is a known thing. There have been cases like this before, others that result in a person waking from a coma speaking a foreign language fluently, changes in their accent, and anecdotally; my grandmother having a stroke and basically 180-degree turning her personality. The eyes changing colour is a normal thing as well, even in non-trauma people eye colour can change as we age. Heck even mine changed from a deep, dark, brown to light hazel. Another good o'l "god of the gaps" story basically.
The mind is an amazing thing. It has the ability to in a sense rewire itself to fix damaged area. But since this was only 15 minutes I doubt any real damage could be sufficiently repaired in such a short amount of time. (It takes quite awhile for this to happen and then it's only minimal repair that's done from my understanding). The dream where he says he believes he was in heaven, well it could have been anything the brain subconsciously remembered that he attributes that to. As for the eye thing I can't answer that but don't see any real divine intervention here. More likely minimal but active brain activity was missed by medical staff. It happens.
Machines are fallible and the human body can do odd things. One of the reasons most states require a three day waiting period before a body is cremated. In this case, he suffered a major head trauma. His brain may have gone into a hibernation mode, just as some trauma requires induced coma. If he was seeing fields, he was having dreams, relaxing dreams. And thank goodness they waited a bit to start harvesting organs. I’m not sure they don’t rush that sometimes.
We are still learning about the biological state of death. First of all, "brain-dead" just means that no electrical activity was measured and we do have good, but not perfect, instruments to measure this. Secondly, it is not certain that the lack of electrical activity, at least for a time, means the brain is thoroughly dead, but rather is dormant. Subtle chemical processes may still be occurring. Thirdly, many medical scientists now believe that even in brain death, the rest of the spinal cord may still be alive, and it is quite possible for the spinal cord to "reboot" the brain with electrical pulses.
Finally, any change in eye color has nothing to do with being "reborn". (Where in the Bible does it say that? Sounds more like a Hollywood movie someone saw.) Eye color is caused by pigment or the lack thereof. People's eye color often changes somewhat as they age. Hardly anyone keeps their "baby blues" their entire life. So are all the billions of people whose eye color changes "reborn", or is it just a natural chemical process?