Dr. Eben Alexander is a best-selling author and former academic neurosurgeon who had a “near-death experience” (NDE) in 2008, spending a week in a coma. Praxis Circle interviewed Dr. Alexander because of his outstanding medical and academic achievements, the unique perspective he offers from his NDE experience changing from a materialist to an idealist, and his unusually broad and deep knowledge of science, philosophy, and the history of human spiritual experiences. It’s impossible to incur a greater shift in worldview than Dr. Alexander, moving between radical extremes.
Born and raised in North Carolina, Dr. Alexander is a 1975 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University School of Medicine in 1980. He also completed his Neurosurgery Residency in 1987 at Duke University School of Medicine, as well as a Cerebrovascular Neurosurgery fellowship at Newcastle General Hospital in the UK in 1988. He has taught and worked at Duke University School of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, University of Massachusetts Medical School, the University of Virginia School of Medicine, Boston Children’s Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and also taught neurosurgery for 15 years at Harvard Medical School.
While practicing medicine at Lynchburg General Hospital in Lynchburg, VA, in 2008, Dr. Alexander contracted bacterial meningo-encephalitis and fell into a deep coma lasting a week. During that week he experienced a life-changing NDE. That experience formed the basis for his first best-selling book, Proof of Heaven (2012), which debuted as #1 on the New York Times best-sellers list, and remained on the list for over 90 weeks. Since he has authored or co-author several more books, including The Map of Heaven and Living in a Mindful Universe, and has appeared on numerous television shows, radio shows, and internet programs.