...By Henry George for TDPel Media.
According to The Mirror, doctors have gained a better understanding of what people experience in their last hours of life, particularly when dying from a lingering disease.
This is known as “active dying,” where most people experience a sudden and rapid slide.
James Hallenbeck, a palliative-care specialist at Stanford University, suggests that people tend to lose their senses and desires in a particular order, with hunger and thirst being the first senses lost.
This is followed by speech and vision, with the last senses to go being hearing and touch.
As the brain begins to die, it “starts to sacrifice areas which are less critical to survival,” explains David Hovda, director of the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center.
Scientists have discovered that just before animals die, neurochemicals in the brain surge, and neurons begin secreting new chemicals in large amounts.
Jimo Borjigin, a neuroscientist at the University of Michigan, believes that cardiac arrest survivors have an “amazing experience in their brain” before death, where they see lights and everything appears “realer than real.”
In the final hours of life, patients stop eating and drinking, and their vision fades away.
They eventually close their eyes and appear to be sleeping.
According to Hallenbeck, from this point on, it’s hard to know what is happening.
He likens the experience to a storm, with the waves starting to come up higher and higher, until they eventually carry the person out to sea.
The insights provided by doctors about the final hours of life are valuable not just for medical professionals, but also for families and loved ones of those who are nearing the end of their lives.
Understanding what patients are experiencing during this time can help families and caregivers provide comfort and support.
The research suggests that patients may not be entirely unconscious during the final hours, but instead may be in a dreamlike state.
However, it is important to remember that everyone’s experience of dying is unique, and these observations may not apply to every person.
As a society, we still have much to learn about death and dying, and it is essential that we continue to invest in research and education around palliative care and end-of-life care.