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Deathbed Observations by Physicians and Nurses  (Paperback) 
Author(s): Karlis Osis
113 pp. (1961) ISBN 0-912328-06-1 
Price: $10.00 PE Club Discount Price: $9.00

A questionnaire survey was conducted on deathbed observations of physicians and nurses, with special focus on mood elevation in the dying and on the hallucinating of apparitions and visions. 10,000 questionnaires were sent out, 640 were returned. Cases were followed up by means of telephone interviews and correspondence.

Elated moods at the time of death were estimated by responding physicians and nurses to occur in about one out of twenty dying patients. Extreme elevation of mood was reported in 753 cases. Fear was not indicated as a dominant emotion in the dying. Visions were reported in 884 cases. The contents of the visions were mainly either in accordance with traditional religious concepts or were scenes of indescribable beauty and brilliant colors. The most commonly reported hallucination among terminal patients was of deceased persons who often claim to aid the patient’s transition into post-mortem existence. These hallucinations were “apparitional” in that while the terminal patient was seeing the deceased person, they were also perceiving and responding to the actual environment in the proper way.

The author reported that his findings did not seem to be related to any specific physiological, cultural or personality variables, educational levels, type of illness or denominational differences. The majority of the patients seemed to be lucid otherwise, that is, “whose mentality was not disturbed by sedatives, other medications or high body-temperature” and who were “fully conscious, with adequate awareness and responsiveness to the environment.” The author called for future research along the same lines, especially with terminal patients in other cultures. The monograph also includes tables of data and examples of the cases obtained.




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