Aneurysm Patient Went From 'Brink Of Death' To Recovery

Nineteen-year-old Kevin Dockendorf was nearly home from Normandale Community College last September when he the bike he was riding began to weave, and then he fell gently to the ground.

Neighbors called 9-1-1 and his mother, Barb, ran to her son. He was having a seizure, and the right side of his body wasn’t moving.

Kevin was taken to Fairview Southdale Hospital, where doctors determined he had a ruptured aneurysm on the left side of his brain, and he was rushed into surgery.

On the brink of death

“Kevin had a devastating brain hemorrhage and was on the brink of death,” explains Frederick Harris, MD, MS, FAANS.

“Fortunately, the situation was immediately identified by the Emergency Department physicians and critical care neurologist. They alerted me, and Kevin was emergently transferred to the operating room, where we removed a large blood clot and secured the aneurysm with clips in a timely fashion.”

Subsequently, under the care of neurologist Alexander Zubkov, MD, PhD, FAHA, with a neurology team, he was stabilized, and further brain damage was prevented.

“Along with God’s divine intervention, the surgery saved his life and was the beginning of Kevin’s long road to recovery,” says Barb.

“When he arrived, he was probably the sickest patient I have ever cared for,” says Amelia Hedstrom, RN, MSN, who, along with the rest of his care team cared for Kevin for four weeks in the Intensive Care Unit.

“I kept thinking how proud he must have felt to be heading off to college and how proud his family must have been, and then to have this catastrophic event happen,” she says. “We worked hard as a team so that Kevin could have a meaningful recovery.”

Home and recovering

Kevin is now home, with weekly appointments to work on skills that once came easily. He has worked hard in physical, occupational and speech therapies, and receives follow-up care from Alexander.

“Kevin is still improving, thankfully,” says Barb.

“We aren’t sure what his capabilities will eventually be. But whatever comes, the whole team, along with God’s grace and many faithful prayers, deserves credit for saving his life,” says says.

“They went through so much to stabilize him. I want them to know how grateful we are and how well he is doing now.” 

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