Sensitive but skeptical, a narrative for practitioners and patients alike about the search to understand a corner of the...

Near Death In The ICU


A seasoned doctor takes on the head-scratching phenomenon of near-death experiences.

Part gallery of cases, part theory of medicine, debut memoirist Bellg’s look at near-death experiences bridges issues of body and mind. After forgoing a research career, Bellg pursued work as a critical care doctor in an ICU. The often high-stakes scenarios of the ICU brought her into contact with patients close to drawing their last breaths—or who had “died.” Both recollection and commentary, Bellg’s book tracks her patients’ puzzling out-of-body episodes and her attempts to grapple with them. In one startling anecdote, a patient recovering from cardiac arrest described to Bellg not only the details of his surgery, for which he was supposedly unconscious, but the specifics of a nurse training center on the floor above. Another patient recounted how an injection given as part of an imaging procedure sent him on a race through the cosmos. By happenstance, on Bellg’s first day of medical school—when she received a copy of an anthology that dealt with the “more philosophical, relationship-centered” side of medicine—she encountered something of the approach touted in her own book, one that convincingly advocates stronger roles for empathy, patient testimony, and emotional intelligence in institutionalized medical practice. Framing the history of medicine as a prolonged refutation of superstition, she recognizes the obstacles inherent in persuading others to see NDEs as genuine, not just apparent, medical phenomena. Bellg’s responses to these obstacles, though hardly conclusive, are well-considered. She indicates, for instance, the difficulties that would plague any attempt to seriously study NDEs empirically and suggests that observations of NDEs are “simply the beginning of developing a scientific understanding of them.” And she emphasizes the qualitative differences, for her patients, between NDEs and average dreams. Above all, she argues persuasively that patients should be accorded dignity when their stories about these bizarre but often transformative experiences are acknowledged rather than dismissed.

Sensitive but skeptical, a narrative for practitioners and patients alike about the search to understand a corner of the unknown in medicine.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9965103-0-1

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Sloan Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 25, 2016

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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