What It Feels Like to Die

September 12, 2016

(The Atlantic) – James Hallenbeck, a palliative-care specialist at Stanford University, often compares dying to black holes. “We can see the effect of black holes, but it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to look inside them. They exert an increasingly strong gravitational pull the closer one gets to them. As one passes the ‘event horizon,’ apparently the laws of physics begin to change.” What does dying feel like? Despite a growing body of research about death, the actual, physical experience of dying—the last few days or moments—remains shrouded in mystery. Medicine is just beginning to peek beyond the horizon.

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