Medical Doctor encounters near-death experience during emergency procedure

Dr. Theodore M. Homa
Dr. Theodore M. Homa

A former atheist and astute observer named Dr. Theodore M. Homa, a 66-year-old medical doctor in the Chicago area had his brush with eternity after lapsing into a coma while awaiting a heart transplant.

The last thing Dr. Homa remembers is that there was a “bright, bright light” from the operating lamps that was “shining on me and my eyes were shielded and I was telling them I was short of breath and in pain and couldn’t handle what they were doing.

“And then everything went gray.

“At that point, the first thing I realized was that the pain of breathing had subsided but I found myself in a place that I can only describe as gray without direction, sensation of weight, or sensation of up or down; and following that was a ripping or tearing sensation I felt everywhere in my body, instantaneous but  severe.

“My conscious self — it struck me that this was the sensation that one would feel when one’s soul parted from the body.

“Following that I was relatively at peace for an undetermined period of time because everything seemed timeless, and then there was a voice; it had the characteristics of being ancient and it knew me well. But it was a voice that was accusing me of not being worthy to be with the Lord and urging me to choose to come with whoever the voice belonged to. At that point I realized I must be at the judgment seat and this had to be Satan. As soon as I realized that, I began to see in vivid, high-definition reality images of everything I did wrong and everything I omitted in my life — all of my sins and omissions and the effect they had. I even saw the effect of taking the Name of God had on God. I saw and felt how much that hurt Him. I saw the ripple effect. I saw what it did. I understood. I saw that I was not worthy to be with God.”

And if he wasn’t worthy to be with God, that meant he would be headed in another direction — purgatory, or lower. There was the urgency not to go — to return to earth (in most such cases, the person wants to remain on the other side).

While Dr. Homa had turned from atheism to belief after a visit to the apparition site of Medjugorje in Eastern Europe, there were obviously issues that remained in need of expiation. It is an unusual case — and serves as a lesson to all of us (perhaps especially those who practice medicine).

“I believed I should be saved because I had gone to Confession, received Last Rites, received a plenary indulgence and had not done anything to discount God, but I was led to believe with urgency that I was not worthy,” the physician goes on. “So I began to pray. Beyond reason, I started with the Father. I called Him every Name I knew —  God, Yahweh, Father. And there was no response. Yet I knew he was there. So I went on to call upon Jesus and called Him every Name I could think of — Savior, my Jesus of Mercy, Lord, Lamb of God: I went down a litany, and He didn’t respond.

“Now I was getting desperate and decided it was time to talk to the Holy Spirit, so I called to the Spirit — and instantaneously I had an answer and it was not verbal and it was not a vision; it was a compelling inner voice or announcement, basically, to ‘call Mary.’

“I hesitated. It was clear to me that Satan heard it because then there was a diatribe from him, to the effect that if I did that — if I called on Mary — the devil had me; if I called on her, I was a blasphemer. But while I was waiting the Spirit gave me a command. It’s kind of unimaginable, the power. The only thing I can liken it to is the reference in the Bible of how in the end times in the Second Coming all knees will bend. This was the nature of the command. I didn’t have a choice; I just [called on her]. And then Mary came.

“She appeared as if she was at the bedside — across a small table from me. She put her left hand on my face and spread her fingers and they crossed over so that my eyes weren’t blocked but I could see her face and attire.

“People describe her as having a crown. She had a glow around her — I guess that was sort of a crown — and dark eyes and she was young, beautiful, and the colors of her garments were white-blue-gray.

“Then she spoke to me. She called me by name and told me to ‘go back.’ She said everything would be okay. And that was the end. All I remember after that is waking up in I.C.U. to the sound of my artificial heart and the nurse asking me to prove I was conscious by squeezing his fingers.”

His heart had not been pumping at all; and his family was told it was probably too late and they could have [the life-support equipment] off in five days because he had been down too long and ultimately there would be liver and renal failure and no brain left. He had been in cardiac arrest — had even turned black from cyanosis.

Five days later, however, he revived and six months after that, Dr. Homa, who had been suffering for so long from viral cardiomyopathy, received his transplant.



  1. Was this incident recent? I remember Mother Angelica telling a similar near death experience of another doctor, but his was a little more explicit and very scary and he came back and went on to give talks and seminars about how important it was to be in a state of Grace. Thank you for sharing Dr. Homa. +++

  2. I had a similiar after-life experience. God allowed me to return to this life to finish raising my three sons. I was told I would experience great pain and hardship. But, there was no one else to raise my sons for me. At the moment,I returned and woke up, I was screaming in pain. It is a true experience.

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