The brain doesn't die in near-death. Being near-death is very different from returning from death...the brain is nowhere near physically dead during near-death experiences. It is alive and conscious.
I ask Potter [Dr. Laura Potter, the first doctor to see Alexander in the ER] whether the manic, agitated state that Alexander exhibited whenever they weaned him off his anesthetics during his first days of coma would meet her definition of conscious.
"Yes," she says. "Conscious but delirious."
"God, help me!"
Potter has no recollection of this incident, or of that shouted plea. What she does remember is that she had intubated Alexander more than an hour prior to his departure from the emergency room, snaking a plastic tube down his throat, through his vocal cords, and into his trachea. Could she imagine her intubated patient being able to speak at all, let alone in a crystal-clear way?
"No," she says.
His survival is a miracle, he [Alexander] says. His doctors told him that he is alive when he should be dead, and he believes intensely that he is alive for a reason, to spread the word about the love awaiting us all in heaven.