Alexander, a Harvard neurosurgeon, nearly died four years ago when a ferocious E. coli meningitis infection attacked his brain and plunged him deep into a week-long coma. Brain scans showed his entire cortex — the parts of the brain that give us consciousness, thought, memory and understanding — was not functioning. Doctors gave him little chance to live and told his family that if he did survive he’d probably be brain-damaged for the rest of his life.
“Nurses would come in, and they would pull his eyelids back, shine in the flashlight, and his eyes were just off and cocked,” Holley Andersen said. “It’s just like no one was there.”
Against all odds, Alexander woke up a week after being stricken. But he believes Holley was right: He wasn’t there.
Deep in coma, his brain infected so badly only the most primitive parts were working, Alexander claimed he experienced something extraordinary: a journey to Heaven.
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