Pictured above (top left) Joe Laws on shed he fell off of. (Top right) Joe only one day after the accident. (Bottom left) Joe counting his blessings. (Bottom right) Truck at time of accident. Above photos from [here].
February 18, 2014 Reported [here]. Joe Laws slept atop a tool shed listening to coyotes howl the night before he went to heaven. That’s how the narrative begins as he tells about a near-death experience at his home in La Vergne two summers ago. It was the morning of July 17, 2011, when he awoke, got his feet tangled in a ladder and toppled to the ground. He pulverized his spleen. His heart stopped beating long enough to prevent him from hemorrhaging to the point of no return, he said, and during that time he went to heaven.
Although no medical records exist to prove what happened that morning, the Vanderbilt University Medical Center trauma surgeon who rebuilt him said a significant blow to the chest can cause the heart to temporarily stop pumping. Near-death experiences are little understood by scientists, who have theories about what happens in the brain but no proof, at this point, to back up those explanations. People of faith believe what happens to souls cannot be dissected by scientists. However, one medical researcher has found that near-death experiences commonly occur.
Dr. Pim van Lommel, a cardiologist, and research colleagues studied 344 heart attack patients in 10 Dutch hospitals who were successfully resuscitated. Eighteen percent of them reported a near-death experience. The study was published in the British medical journal The Lancet. More of a backsliding Baptist than a Bible thumper, Laws waited a year before he told his surgeon, Dr. Richard S. Miller, about his experience. The trauma surgeon wrote the introduction to the [book] Laws has authored about his accident, revelation and recovery — “Held By the Hand of God: Why Am I Alive?” A first-person account.
“I watched my limp body on the ground and realized that it was broken,” Laws writes. “There was too much damage to be fixed. And then in one quick motion, my soul was going upward toward a light that we humans aren’t able to describe!” He tells about feeling like a baby in God’s hand. “Although I couldn’t see His actual face, the aura of light was actually love,” Laws writes. “It was His face. His face is love, and you can’t even see it.” Family members in heaven told him it wasn’t his time, he said, so he went back into his body. He managed to crawl to his truck, where his wife found him.
Besides bursting his spleen, he had suffered 11 broken bones, including vertebrae in his throat and thorax areas, and a crushed chest cavity. Miller put him back together with rib stabilization and plating surgery using titanium parts. Three months after the accident, Laws was able to return to his job as a maintenance technician at Nissan. “I’m working seven days a week, nonstop, which is quite incredible when you think what I have been through,” Laws said.