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Observations placeholder

Reaction to Penicillin produces NDE



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

The Wisdom of Near-Death Experiences – Dr Penny Sartori

The following was sent in response to a newspaper article:

1957 (aged ten) I had a reaction to penicillin - my parents were advised by the doctors and specialists that I would not survive many hours and certainly not the night after hospital admission, and they were told to go home and get some sleep.

I can remember everything vividly up to the point where my father lifted me out of my bed to carry me to the ambulance that took me to hospital. I blacked out with the pain of the large blisters bursting on my back when he lifted me and I drifted in and out of this as they wheeled me on a trolley into a ward and placed me on a bed, then I knew nothing for some time.

Shortly after being admitted to hospital I can remember, in this half-haze of blackout/coma that doctors and nurses were in the room tending to me and trying to get something put in my mouth (I later discovered it was a thin tube which they wanted to insert to help with my breathing as my throat and airway had blistered and swollen). I can very clearly remember what happened next and later drew many pictures of it for my mother to try and describe what happened.

While the doctors and nurses were dealing with me shortly after admission to hospital, everything went black, then I was suddenly at the foot of a very large and tall staircase looking upwards. The stairway would have been about 10 to 12 foot across, quite steep and it seemed to go upwards forever - to me as a young child.  The steps were either lit up or white and on either side, standing on each step, were people looking and smiling at me. They were all ages, old and young and children and dressed in all sorts of clothes. I had no idea who they were, being a young child.

They held out their hands towards me and motioned, silently, for me to climb the stairs, which I did. The stairs were difficult to climb as they were a bit high for a young child to step up onto each step.

The whole place was very brightly lit from somewhere and was brighter the higher up the stairs you looked. The top of the stairway was almost too bright to look at as it hurt my eyes. I climbed quite a way up those stairs and the people were still silently encouraging me to climb further up. I reckon I got about two-thirds of the way up the stairs and could see a tall thin figure of a man standing at the top. He wore a long white coat or robe and had his hands stretched out towards me and was smiling. The bright light surrounding him and the whole area made it almost impossible to see much. I wanted to climb further but was too tired and sat for a while before trying to climb further.

Then suddenly it was all gone and I was frozen in the coma, unable to communicate or move. I have no idea how long this experience lasted but my mother said that the doctors thought I would not last more than an hour after admission to hospital and were amazed that I survived a few hours. They had thought I had gone late in the evening/early morning but were again amazed that my condition started to stabilize, although I was in a coma.

The source of the experience

Other ill or disabled person

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Extreme pain


Being in a coma