Fairview Range Blog

Karlene Pochucha and her husband, Dana Pochucha

Two Strokes in Six Weeks: “They Saved My Life – Twice.”

March 15th and May 12th, 2023 are days Karlene Pochucha, and her husband, Dana Pochucha, will remember forever.  

On March 15th, 2023, Karlene knew something was wrong. She recognized she was experiencing stroke symptoms. Quickly, her husband and her got in the car and headed to the Emergency Department in Hibbing, Minnesota. There, the Fairview Range team confirmed her suspicions and sprang into action. 

“I can’t begin to tell you how impressed I was to see your ER Team in action,” stated Dana. “I knew she [Karlene] was in good hands and that you were doing everything in your power to help her.”  

Karlene received a clot-buster medication which helps dissolve blood clots quickly and efficiently. She was then stabilized, transported to Duluth, and continued on to make a full recovery.

Six weeks later, on May 12th, the unthinkable happened. The same symptoms appeared so Dana and Karlene headed to the Emergency Department. Once again, the team went to work to dissolve the stroke. 

“They did everything right – twice. They saved my life – twice,” explained Karlene.

Fairview Range is proud to be designated as an Acute Stroke Ready Hospital through the Minnesota Department of Health. To have this level of expertise available locally for patients can be life-changing, especially during a situation as time-sensitive as a stroke, when every minute counts.

Despite having her second stroke less than two weeks ago, Karlene is doing very well. When we called her, she had just finished up planting flowers in her garden. 

“I’m so happy to be here,” she stated. “I can’t tell you how grateful I am for your staff. Every single person who helped me is a true hero to me!”  

Karlene and Dana celebrated their 39th wedding anniversary, just one week after her second stroke. 

“My family and I will never forget what miracle you performed,” said Dana.

How did Karlene know she was having a stroke – twice? Fortunately, Karlene used to be a first responder and is well-trained in how to spot stroke symptoms. After recognizing how impactful this knowledge was to her, she wants to help educate others.

“I honestly believe being more aware of the symptoms and to be able to recognize and act upon it saved my life both times,” Karlene stated.

A simple way to spot the signs of a stroke is to remember the acronym, B.E.F.A.S.T. It stands for: 

B – Balance: Sudden loss of balance.

E – Eyes: Sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes.

F – Face drooping: Does the face look uneven?

A – Arm weakness: Does one arm drift down?  Ask them to raise both arms.

S – Speech difficulty: Does their speech sound strange? Ask them to repeat a phrase.

T – Time to call 911

If any or all of these symptoms are present, call 911 right away. 


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