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Lessons from Battle

Anna Webster, for HealthLeaders Media, January 13, 2012
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This article appears in the January 2012 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

Sudip Bose, MD, FACEP, FAAEM, has seen the world of healthcare from a unique perspective—the battlefield. On a 15-month tour overseas, he treated thousands of soldiers and one notable prisoner, former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein. Now back in the United States, Bose treats patients at the 362-licensed-bed Medical Center Hospital in Odessa, TX, and works as a motivational speaker and veteran advocate with the goal of bringing lessons from the battlefield back to hospitals. He founded thebattlecontinues.org, a website dealing with emergency department and veterans' care issues, and is medical director for the city of Odessa.

On being a combat physician: It gives you a perspective on life and service. You see what everyone is going through out there, and you don't want to come back and do nothing.

On treating Saddam Hussein: The time I spent with him was only 10 hours in a room. In that way, it was just another patient. I think it's only after the fact that you realize the significance of the moment.

The experience of treating Hussein reiterated the fact that it's often not our job to be the judge or the jury. It's similar in the U.S. when you have a gang member who is shot up, but you have to provide the same care you would to everyone else. That's the No. 1 priority.

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