Full Neurological Recovery From Escherichia coli Meningitis Associated With Near-Death Experience

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Abstract

A 54-year-old otherwise healthy man presented with altered mental status. On admission, the patient was confused and agitated, with a Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score of 11, suggesting moderate brain injury. He was sedated, placed on a ventilator, and started on tobramycin and ceftazidime for presumed bacterial meningitis, but switched to ceftriaxone once cultures returned as Escherichia coli. During his 8-day hospitalization, his mental status fluctuated from confused to nonresponsive, with GCS scores between 6 and 11. Although E. coli meningitis has a high rate of neurological complications and death, this patient recovered completely without any deficits, and recalled an elaborate near-death experience that occurred during his coma. This case highlights the importance of studying near-death experiences occurring during compromised brain function to further our understanding of the brain and consciousness.

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