When you hear a medical expert claiming that scientific advancements can bring the dead back to life, you're probably assuming it's a quote from Herbert West, the disturbed genius of H.P. Lovecraft's Re-Animator. But in this case, you'd be mistaken: in this interview with German news agency Spiegel, doctor Sam Parnia claims that modern medicine will soon enable doctors to revive a human body up to 24 hours after death.
Parnia, an Intensive Care physician at New York's Stony Brook University School of Medicine, has become a key figure in the field of “Resuscitation Science,” and explains that more patients could be saved if medical professionals put existing resuscitation knowledge to better use. He's documented his findings in his new book, Erasing Death.
“With today's medicine, we can bring people back to life up to one, maybe two hours, sometimes even longer, after their heart stopped beating,” the doctor explains. “In the future, we will likely get better at reversing death... in 20 years, we may be able to restore people to life 12 hours or maybe even 24 hours after they have died.” Parnia also claims that many deaths could be averted by the techniques used at the ICU facility at Stony Brook, and cites the recent death of James Gandolfini as an example. “I believe if [Gandolfini] died here,” he claims, “he could still be alive.”
Parnia goes on to say that today's cultural concept of death may be based on conditions that are not necessarily permanent anymore. “We encounter it in movies and books all the time,” he says. “That is my basic message: The death we commonly perceive today in 2013 is a death that can be reversed.”