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Army doctor: Returning vets need psychological care

Wednesday - 2/29/2012, 6:32am  ET

Darci Marchese, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - An Army physician who served one of the longest combat tours since World War ll is now on a new mission: Making sure war heroes recover after their service.

Dr. Sudip Bose served in Iraq for 15 months during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004. He treated and cared for thousands of U.S. soldiers and civilians. He also treated Saddam Hussein shortly after his capture. Bose was awarded a Bronze Star for his work and promoted to Major in the U.S. Army.

Bose continues to work as an emergency medicine physician in the U.S., but is also an advocate for veterans battling post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries.

He wants the public to understand the demons soldiers face.

"I think it's important for the public to be aware of what these soldiers are facing out there," he says.

Bose was prepared and trained to see the horrors of war, but most are not, he says.

"When you're an 18-year-old straight out of high school and you're on the battlefield and see body parts on the street and bullet holes through people, it really leaves an impact," he says.

Bose now works to help veterans battle the "mental abrasions you can't see" of post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

Every 80 minutes, a soldier back from war is attempting suicide, he says. Americans who know vets can play a unique role in making sure this stops happening.

"We, the public, may be the first ones to catch those symptoms and get those soldiers to the right place," Bose says.

While he was responsible to put people back together on the front lines of combat, everyone has a role in the front lines to battle invisible injuries.

Bose realized that stopping the bleeding of battle was just a sprint.

"Now you have to face the marathon of continuing care that these veterans need," he says.

For more information, check out Bose's a website, The Battle Continues.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)