To be sure, we look at a wide variety medical issues on The Empowering Neurologist.
But one event that will affect us all is dying. Here in America we have experienced the medicalization of death, treating death as an enemy to be fought and defeated at all costs. Indeed, the actual process of dying, the patient’s experience during the process, is completely ignored in medical training.
Our guest today is Dr. Christopher Kerr, author of the new book, Death Is But a Dream.
Dr. Kerr is a hospice doctor. All of his patients die. Yet he has cared for thousands of patients who, in the face of death, speak of love and grace. Beyond the physical realities of dying are unseen processes that are remarkably life-affirming. These include dreams that are unlike any regular dream. Described as “more real than real,” these end-of-life experiences resurrect past relationships, replay meaningful events, and display themes of love and forgiveness; they restore life’s meaning and mark the transition from distress to comfort and acceptance.
Drawing on interviews with over 1,400 patients and more than a decade of quantified data, Dr. Kerr reveals that pre-death dreams and visions are extraordinary occurrences that humanize the dying process. He shares how his patients’ stories point to death as not solely about the end of life, but as the final chapter of humanity’s transcendence. Kerr’s book also illuminates the benefits of these phenomena for the bereaved, who find solace in seeing their loved ones pass with a sense of calm closure.
Christoper Kerr, MD, PhD, is the CEO and chief medical officer at Hospice Buffalo. Born and raised in Toronto, Kerr earned his MD, as well as PhD, in neurobiology and completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of Rochester. His research has received international attention and has been featured in The New York Times, Atlantic Monthly, and the BBC. He lives on a horse farm in the small town of East Aurora, New York.