Letter to the Editor: When Ideology Overrules Science Page: 48
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JOURNAL OF NEAR-DEATH STUDIES
white noise modules were exchanged every few minutes to avoid hear-
ing damage from the clicks. Not only were those modules, which had
been molded into place and then taped over, noise-damping enough to
exclude most of the external sounds, but the 100 decibel clicks would
have been too overpowering and distracting for Reynolds to listen to
sounds occurring in the room.
Woerlee denied all that. He postulated that Pam would have sim-
ply ignored (as he called it, "neurally filtered out") those horrible
sounds. As a former sound technician, trained by Philips Electronic
Industries, I made it clear to him that such "neurally filtering out"
was sheer nonsense: Nobody can ignore such ghastly sounds as those
clicks. But all to no avail: Woerlee went on believing that he was right.
In the course of these discussions it became clear that not only had
Woerlee never interviewed Reynolds herself about her experience but
also that he had never contacted her neurosurgeon, Robert Spetzler.
Two participants on the forum where this discussion took place,
then decided to take action. The first one, I, emailed Spetzler and
asked him a straightforward question: Could Reynolds have expe-
rienced anesthetic awareness? He replied promptly: "She was under
EEG burst suppression which is incompatible with anesthetic aware-
ness." He signed "rfs" (Robert F Spetzler). EEG burst suppression
means that she was effectively flatlined, that is, no detectable brain
activity, as should be the case during an operation. If she were expe-
riencing normal sensory awareness of sound or anything else, it pre-
sumably would have registered on the EEG-but Spetzler, who was on
the scene, reported no EEG activity whatsoever.
The second forum participant, who does not want his name to be
revealed in this Journal, asked Spetzler whether Pam was flatlined
during the famous exchange between Spetzler and the female vascu-
lar surgeon who wanted to access a vein in Pam's groin. (The female
surgeon said, "Her veins are too small." Spetzler answered, "Try the
other side." Following the surgery, Reynolds reported having heard
this exchange during her near-death out-of-body experience while she
was anesthetized, with the ear modules in place, etc.) To this ques-
tion, Spetzler answered with an unequivocal: YES. Once again, if she
had been hearing through normal physical means, not only would her
hearing the conversation have registered on the EEG, but even moreso
the loud clicks and white noise would have registered-but Spetzler
was emphatic that her EEG was consistently flat.
How much clearer could Spetzler have been?
Here’s what’s next.
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Smit, Rudolf H. Letter to the Editor: When Ideology Overrules Science, letter, Autumn 2013; East Windsor Hill, Connecticut. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc938061/m1/2/: accessed April 6, 2020), University of North Texas Libraries, UNT Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; .