I find that many people still do not know who or what an Osteopathic Physician (DO) is. Many of you may have already seen an Osteopathic Physician and not known it because their white coat may have only said Dr. on it without the credentials listed. A person with D.O. behind their name has a doctorate degree in Osteopathy whereas a person with M.D. has a doctorate degree in Medicine.
Both degrees require four years of medical school, three plus years of residency, four different levels of national board exams, and a license to practice medicine in the state.
Although Osteopathic medical school requires 200 hours more in neuromusculoskeletal medicine than allopathic (M.D.) medical school, the degrees once graduated are equivalent. Neuromusculoskeletal, which includes Osteopathic manipulation, is what has traditionally separated DO’s and MD’s but realistically most DO’s don’t use Osteopathic manipulation in modern practice. If you see an Osteopathic cardiologist he will practice near identically to an allopathic cardiologist. There are Osteopathic physicians that still practice and even specialize in Osteopathic manipulation and there is an Osteopathic physician in every medical specialty in America now.
Many people who do know of DO’s tend to think they are more “alternative”. I believe that is due to the manipulation skills and a more integrated approach in training. The reality is there are many brilliant alternatively minded MD’s and unfortunately most DO’s today are very much mainstream and party line.
Bottom line: a good doctor is not defined by their degree but by whether they listen to their patients, continue to read and learn, truly care and still try.