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Hospitals are interesting places these days, including for spiritual reasons. Many are those in the medical field -- nurses and doctors -- who, increasingly, are reporting unusual experiences with patients -- particularly those who have "flat-lined" and come back.

This is because if God wants us back -- if it's not our time -- we come back (often with the doctor thinking, erroneously, that he was the one who did it).

We know from miracles like those logged at Lourdes Who does what (often through the ministry of His angels).

Several years ago, hallway security cameras at a hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina, captured a light that looked very much like an angel (at a time when a little girl dying in that very part of the hospital made a miraculous recovery).

Dr. Lloyd Rudy, who was born in Spokane, Washington (and himself died last year) related a happening during an emergency heart valve resection. After failing in efforts to get the patient off a heart-lung machine, they declared him dead. As workers were taking away the equipment and cleaning up, and a doctor closed up the patient's chest with a few wires awaiting an autopsy when the machine recording blood pressure, the pulse and the left-atrial pressure continued to run the paper on the floor; no one had bothered to turn it off. 

"The assistant surgeon and I went in and took our gowns off and masks and things and came back and were in our short-sleeved shorts and discussing if there was anything else we could have done to have made it a success and as we were standing there it had been at least twenty minutes since this man had recorded no heart beat, no blood pressure, and all of a sudden we looked up and the physician had just finished closing him and we saw some electrical activity, and pretty soon the electrical activity turned into a heart beat."

At first they thought it was such the heart beating without real life. But then there was a blood pressure reading.

"I started yelling, 'Get anesthesia back in here! Get the nurses!"

The man was alive. His heart rate and blood pressure continued back. "He recovered -- and had no neurological deficit," says Dr. Rudy. "For the next ten days, two weeks, we all went in there and talked to him about what he experienced."

The man spoke about the the bright light so many recall.

"But the thing that astounded me was that he described that operating room, floating around and saying I saw you and Doctor Catanio standing in the doorway with your arms folded and I didn't know where the anesthesiologist was, but I saw him come running back in. And I saw all these Post-Its [used for messages from the nurses]"

In short, the "dead" patient described what everyone had been doing -- including a discussion outside the room.

"There's no way he could have described that. He described the scene -- things no way he could know. He was up there! I mean he didn't wake up in the operating room and see this. I mean, he was out, and out for a day or two. So what does that tell you?"

It tells us that Saint Paul was exactly speaking when he mentioned a man in a similar situation who "left his body."

The New Testament is not just true, but more recent than the news. (After practicing medicine for decades at Sacred Heart and Deaconess Hospitals in Spokane, and showing a special bedside manner, compassion, and humor for his patients, he was called to Great Falls, Montana, to start a heart surgery program there so patients in Montana would not have to travel to Spokane for surgery.) 

There is the case of Barbara Whitfield. She had a post-operative near-death experience back in 1975 that transformed her from materialistically-oriented to just the opposite (a common result of such experiences).

She left her body and found herself in the hospital hallway.

Soon, she went through a tunnel-like passage; she was not the type prone to such things; she was an atheist.

Until she encountered her deceased grandmother.

Heart to heart, Barbara learned that abuse she had suffered from her own mother was because of the abuse her mother, in her turn, had experienced.

Suddenly, there was instant forgiveness and understanding.

"It took me thirty-seven years to think thrugh all these wonderful things that happened to me," she says.

She became the "real authentic me" -- forsaking a luxurious life that included a private airplane to become a respiratory nurse and later a psychotherapist. "I couldn;t be the way I was before," she says.

"The universe is so much bigger than we can comprehend," she says. "There is no linear time. When you're in the 'now,' God is everywhere. It's really an easy journey. Unfortunately, we have to convince our ego to let us take the journey. It's why we wrote a book called The Power of Humility. The journey is a journey without distance. It's going inside and becoming our true selves."

No wonder hospitals have many spiritual dynamics.

Albert Einstein said there are two ways to look at the world: as if everything is a miracle or nothing is a miracle.

We opt for the first.

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