TORONTO – Although he retired from military service years ago, a former general surgeon is still answering the medical call of duty.
Dr. Hans Jung's clinic near Ottawa treats veteran patients exclusively.
"The bond, even though I've never seen them before, is immediate," he told CTV National News. "There is a feeling that we are all in the same fraternity."
For veterans of his clinic in Orleans, Ontario, Jung offers a unique service. "He understands what we are going through, what we are going through – and what is to come," said Serge Millen, who lost both hands when a grenade exploded in Germany.
An immigrant from South Korea, Jung joined the military in 1981 while studying medicine. His intention was to serve for only three years, but Hung's military career would last more than three decades, retiring in 2012. He became the first and only visible minority to achieve a general officer position and eventually commanded the multinational. Kandahar Hospital, Afghanistan, where he supervised 6,300 medical professionals.
Part of his work has involved efforts to reduce the stigma surrounding the mental well-being of active military and veterans. He was able to implement changes, including pre- and post-implant exams for mental health problems.
There is still a lot of work to be done in this area, he said.
"The next real phase is managing stigma in general so that individuals see their challenges as no different than if they had diabetes or heart disease," he said.
For now, your family clinic offers a safe, stigma-free space for veterans.
"They may be more comfortable explaining their situation knowing that they don't have to go into the details and try to convince the other person what it was like," he said. "I was there. I understood that."