WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published November 16, 2011, 08:13 AM

Norwegian exchange student saved by quick medical care after aneurysm

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - A story tonight that has brought an island off the northern most-part of Norway to the plains of North Dakota. It is a story of timing, luck, even medical miracles.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

A story tonight that has brought an island off the northern most-part of Norway to the plains of North Dakota. It is a story of timing, luck, even medical miracles.

When 17 year-old Magnus Fenness left his home above the Arctic Circle in Norway for a student exchange program in Devils Lake, little did he know, that decision would save his life.

Despite being a tall, husky Norwegian from Arctic Sea, Magnus Fenes struggles to even speak.

Magnus Fenes – Suffered Aneurysm: “I think it is OK.”

It has been one heck of a foreign exchange visit.

Magnus Fenes: “I would be mad if I did not wake up.”

He remembers it all: Lifting weights with friends at Devils Lake High School, then…

Christiana Fenes – Magnus’s Sister: “He got this insane pain in his neck and side of his head and in front. He knew something was wrong.”

His family from Norway say an aneurysm struck Magnus down. Given little chance of surviving, he was airlifted from Devils Lake to Sanford in Fargo.

Christiana Fenes: “He was bad, they said his chances for surviving were 1 in 100,000.

His parents in Norway got the bad news. They needed to leave for Fargo immediately. Their home? Above the Arctic Circle, where right now the sun never rises. It would be a long flight with nothing certain about their son at all.

Ann Paulson – Magnus’s Mom: “I was thinking I could not do anything, all I could do was hope and pray but I was so happy he was here.”

The sister and mother of Magnus know one thing is certain. He was born with this, and having played sports his whole life, this could have happened at home in Norway. Above the Arctic Circle, miles, hours from a neurosurgeon.

Christiana Fenes: “If it had happened where we lived, he wouldn't have had a chance of survival.”

Ann Paulson: “No chance at all.”

Magnus Fenes: “The doctor says it saved my life. “

Magnus has piles of cards from his new friends in Devils Lake, all anxious for his return.

Magnus Fenes: “I miss them.”

Magnus' prognosis is good. He is used to running and playing any sport with a ball. Life will slow down a little, but don't tell him what he cannot do.

Ann Paulson: “He is a fighter, he will go slow, the right way.”

After all he is from the land of Vikings, Northern Lights and polar bears. Magnus, which is means "great" has perseverance and victory in his blood.

Christiana Fenes: “He is a lucky kid, very.”

Veteran Sanford Neurosurgeon Dr. John Hutchison is amazed at how well Magnus is doing. Hutchison and his team quickly scanned Magnus' brain and found the hemorrhage before operating.

The urgency was a collection of abnormal blood vessels. The neurosurgeon says divine intervention and good care before the helicopter flight helped improve Magnus' chances, which were near zero.

Dr. John Hutchinson: “I had my doubts he was going to make it, but he has done well, again I think because of the location we got the pressure off the brain stem quickly and he was young and healthy.”

The surgery to remove the abnormal blood vessels and correct the hemorrhage lasted about 4 hours.