Crossing Over: How Science Is Redefining Life and Death

Can death be reversible? And what are we learning about the gray zone between here and the other side?

At first it seemed like nothing more than the worst headache she’d ever had.

So Karla Pérez—22 years old, the mother of three-year-old Genesis, and five months pregnant—went into her mother’s room to lie down, hoping it would pass. But the pain got worse, and as she vomited off the side of the bed, she told her younger brother to call 911.

It was not quite midnight on Sunday, February 8, 2015. The ambulance raced Pérez from her home in Waterloo, Nebraska, to Methodist Women’s Hospital in Omaha. She began to lose consciousness in the emergency room, and doctors put a tube down her throat to keep oxygen flowing to her fetus. They ordered a CT scan, and there it was: a massive brain bleed creating severe pressure in her skull.

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