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Hinsdale physician publishes article on Iraq war

Hinsdale – A prominent Adventist Hinsdale Hospital physician has published an article in a journal spotlighting the effect of the Iraq war on the mental health of U.S. soldiers and Iraqis. Entitled “Charting a New Course Home for U.S. Soldiers Returning from Iraq: PTSD and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury – Implications and Solutions,” the article was written by Dr. Akram Y. Razzouk, chairman of the hospital’s psychiatry department and medical director of mental health services at the hospital. It appears in the summer 2008 issue of the DePaul University College of Law Journal of Health Care Law.

Exposure to bullets, shrapnel and exploding bombs in the trenches of Iraq can result in mild traumatic brain injury, a neurological disorder that is often coupled with psychological disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, Razzouk wrote in the article. Doctors who treat Iraq war veterans must address all of their symptoms collectively in order to properly care for these patients, explained Razzouk, adding that his article is intended to raise awareness in the medical community about the need for appropriate diagnoses and adequate treatment of veterans.

“We want to make sure injured veterans receive appropriate treatment for these types of complex brain injuries,” said Razzouk, who lives in Hinsdale.

Co-authored by Razzouk’s daughter, Kelly Razzouk, a DePaul University law student, the 6,380-word article also addresses the stigma associated with post-traumatic stress disorder and the legal implications and the effect of mental illness-related diagnoses on a soldier’s benefits and compensation.

An estimated 10 to 20 percent of soldiers who have served in Iraq have suffered from mild traumatic brain injury or concussion, according to Razzouk’s review of published research. He expects the number of veterans seeking psychological treatment to increase as more members of the military are discharged and return to their communities. The article calls on psychiatrists and mental health professionals to volunteer one hour each week through programs like Give an Hour, a national nonprofit organization that provides free mental health services to military personnel and their families affected by the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“As U.S. citizens and as health care providers, we have an obligation to care for the men and women who are fighting to protect our freedom,” Razzouk said.

The article is available on Lexis Nexus and by request from the Adventist Midwest Health public relations department.