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‘I’m trying everything I can’: UNMC doctor trying to rescue sick mother from Ukraine

By Abbie Petersen

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    OMAHA, Nebraska (KETV) — An Omaha doctor is working to rescue her mother from the war-torn country of Ukraine.

A UNMC researcher says her mother’s symptoms started two weeks ago. Then on Monday, she learned her mom has a brain tumor.

Dr. Valentina Gumenyuk has spent her career helping others in the department of neurological sciences.

“So we help epilepsy patients. We help brain tumor patients to make their surgery more accurate,” Gumenyuk said.

Gumenyuk said she’s an only child, her father died a year ago and other family members fled from the war.

“I’m trying everything I can possibly do so and thinking about going there. I’m thinking about bringing her here. Whatever first come,” Gumenyuk said.

She said her mom’s symptoms started two weeks ago and progressed quickly.

“She started to have the symptoms which pointed to the area where she can become completely paralyzed,” Gumenyuk said.

But getting medical care in a worn-torn country is nearly impossible.

“She’s not a soldier, she is not wounded. She just a civilian who got sick,” Gumenyuk said.

Her mom told her she would never take the place of a wounded soldier even if there was a spot open for her, so Gumenyuk is trying to get her to Omaha. She filled out the required forms, and now they wait.

“It’s my mom and I will do everything I can to help her,” Gumenyuk said.

But being an expert in the field, Gumenyuk knows time is of the essence and they’re not sure how much they have.

“It’s heartbreaking because I know what it is. I know what it could be. I know the best outcome and I know the worst outcome,” Gumenyuk said.

Gumenyuk said she needs help figuring out if there is anything else she can do to get her mom here quickly, what documents her mother should bring from Ukraine, and if she gets to Omaha, how she receives medical care.

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