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What's the Difference Between a MD (Medical Doctor) and a do (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine)?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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When one decides to become a doctor, there are actually two ways to achieve the title of doctor and practice medicine. One can become a medical doctor (MD) or a doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO). Both licenses allow one to practice medicine and have equally rigorous testing. The differences between an MD and a DO lie primarily in philosophy on how to practice medicine.

Both MDs and DOs tend to begin training by getting a four-year undergraduate degree, either in pre-med, or in a related science field. Each type of doctor will then complete four years of training before taking examinations that will result in licensure. Either type of doctor may then choose to specialize in a particular field and study for two to six more years. The doctor who specializes will then take further examinations to be licensed by the board of his or her specialty.

In most cases, the four years of medical school are quite similar. However the DO receives training in the muscular and skeletal system, and also in muscular and skeletal manipulation. A doctor who is a DO tends to evaluate a person’s health in terms of viewing the body as a complex related network. Any disease affects the whole body. The MD, conversely, may evaluate the disease in terms of how it affects certain parts of the body only.

A doctor of osteopathy is less likely to specialize than an MD, because emphasis in training is given to preventative care and on the philosophy of taking time with patients to assess their total health and total health needs. This does not mean that the DO cannot prescribe medicines and treat a disease with equal competency. It does however mean that the DO may consider alternative approaches to treating disease, and may be more apt to consider the disease as a dysfunction of the total working of the body.

The DO also practices osteopathic manipulation treatment (OMT), which means slight manipulations of the spine or simply laying hands on the body to confirm diagnosis. This method of diagnosis may take slightly more time than that of the traditional MD symptoms and tests diagnosis.

There are fewer DOs than MDs currently, but the field of DOs is expanding. Some patients prefer the greater length of time a DO spends, but others prefer the less “touchy/feely” approach of the MD. In either field a doctor can be incredibly competent, and some MDs are just as concerned about total health as DOs. Often doctor’s offices may now offer a choice of an MD or DO as a primary care doctor so patients can choose the approach that best fits their view of medicine.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon984594 — On Jan 09, 2015

Neither is inherently better or worse than the other. Just because statistically speaking, it is harder to get into an MD school than a DO school does not translate to all MDs are smarter than all DOs. Is every single person who went to Dartmouth or Princeton better at their respective job than a graduate from Penn State just because it was harder to get into their undergraduate institution?

The skill of the physician is largely gained in residency and post residency training and has very little to do with medical school. Medical school is four years, yet most physicians will spend three to nine years in post medical school training. MDs and DOs train in the same residency and fellowship programs. To think a good score on an MCAT magically transforms a medical school candidate into a good physician is just foolish.

By anon963838 — On Jul 31, 2014

My PCP for 34 years was a DO. If he hadn't retired, I'd still be seeing him. I deliberately selected a DO for my new PCP. It remains to be seen but so far I am pleased with him. Oddly enough, in 34 years my previous PCP never did any kind of spinal manipulation.

By anon950122 — On May 08, 2014

I recently started seeing a DO (three years ago) and I 'm very impressed with their philosophy. I would recommend choosing a doctor on an individual bases and forget about the letters after the name. I would recommend MD's to familiarize themselves with the DO philosophy; it might improve their skills. I strongly recommend DO's.

By anon351984 — On Oct 18, 2013

Disclaimer - I am an M.D.

Most of my college buddies who didn't get into an M.D. program ended up getting accepted to DO schools. The fact remains that the allopathic track is more competitive to gain entrance into.

I graduated from medical school over 12 years ago. At that time, I remember there were about 10,000 applications for only about 100 spots at my med school! That is a 1 percent acceptance rate!

Yes, people of all levels of intelligence can practice medicine. I have seen DOs who are clinically solid. However, you must respect that the allopathic track is more competitive and harder to gain acceptance to. This should not be dismissed in favor of wanting someone writing a script for your sinus infection who has a colgate smile and handshake.

By anon349053 — On Sep 22, 2013

America has highest rates of heart disease and cancer and lowest life expectancy in the developed world yet pays the most for healthcare. Traditional MD medicine has failed us tremendously. It's time for DO physicians to get their shot.

By anon347838 — On Sep 10, 2013

Don't be judgmental. DO's and MD's are both educated people. Sometimes, attitude and values makes it different for both in their practice.

It's personality, and not always brains. I'm a nurse, and I know not all smart doctors are good. Please be reminded of that! It's how they practice their profession and not the title, believe me!

By anon347836 — On Sep 10, 2013

I will let you know in two days if there's a big difference between a DO and an MD. I just got a new PCP and he is a DO. I will let you know the outcome, since I have an appointment with him.

By anon302488 — On Nov 09, 2012

I had an MD who only made my PTSD and extreme anxiety even worse. I went in because I was bleeding vaginally and asked for a full pap and pelvic and urinanalysis. When I went back for the results, she told me she took wrong test. I was floored. I asked her if she needed me to take another one and she said no.

The following week, the nurse called to let me know my pap and pelvic were clear, so I asked about a urinalysis, she told me it was a drug test. Even the nurse was confused. She said, "Didn't she have you take another UA?" I told her she told me no. I've been on depo for two years and haven't had a period and a tubal ligation. I was really ticked. I was clean, she knew it and all the MD could tell me was she took the wrong test.

If I had illegal drugs in my system, why would I ask for a urinalysis? She put my health at risk. Then I went I got home and looked at my script that day and she had written the wrong prescription for nightmares- prazosin, only to be take once at bedtime, but she prescribed it to me three times daily. Had I not caught that or not gone with my gut and gone home first, instead of straight to the pharmacy, I would have filled it.

I'm disabled and I only get six punches for prescriptions every month. So not only did I have to go without my medicine for the night, she forgot to give me my anxiety medicine and made me bring the prescription back up to the office the next morning. Needless to say, she does not work at that office anymore. I pray for whoever she is treating today.

By anon267818 — On May 11, 2012

It really kind of bothers me that so many people are saying that it is harder to get into MD schools than DO schools. Yes, it is true that MD schools do have higher MCAT and GPA stats on average than DO schools. However, this is only one aspect of a candidate’s application. DO schools tend to care much more about motivation and life experience than MD schools do.

I actually had a friend graduate undergrad from UNC Chapel Hill (a very competitive undergrad school) with a 3.98 and a 36 on her MCAT. The first time she applied to MD schools she did not get in anywhere, even though she was way above the “stats” average for all of the schools she applied to. She took a year off and reapplied the next year to both MD and DO schools. She got into five “very competitive” MD schools but did not get accepted to any DO schools. My point is that just because someone got slightly lower grades and/or MCAT scores does not mean that they are less competitive medical school candidates (either for MD or DO). These days MCAT and GPA are only part of the application.

Many schools recognize that getting a 4.0 with only one major (even at a competitive undergrad school) and a 30-plus on your MCAT but doing absolutely nothing else while you’re in school, does not mean that you are more prepared for medical school than someone who received a 3.5 (but maybe had a double major and minor at a competitive undergrad school) and a slightly lower MCAT score, but was simultaneously involved in other health related extracurricular activities. DO schools just tend to put more emphasis on those extracurricular activities than MD schools do. Personally, I am more impressed with someone who graduates with a 3.5 with a double major and minor while working 10 hours a week, doing research 10 hours a week and is involved in other health related extracurricular than I am with someone who can do one major and nothing else and graduate with a 4.0.

Basically, it comes down to what the individual school cares about the most. Pretty much all DO schools want well-rounded, motivated individuals. MD schools vary. There are plenty of MD schools with average MCAT’s and GPA’s that are comparable to DO schools. These are the MD schools that care about students being more well-rounded. The majority of MD schools, however, care more about the traditional “stats” much more than DO schools. Therefore, many MD students are less well-rounded than the typical DO student.

Also, it is important for everyone to realize how much both GPA’s and MCAT scores for both MD and DO schools have increased over the last decade or so. The average MCAT/GPA to get into both MD and DO schools was much lower 10 years ago than it is today. Therefore, many MD’s that graduated medical school 10-plus years ago actually have the same or lower “stats” than recent graduates from DO programs. It is also important to realize that while these stats are increasing for both DO and MD schools, they are increasing much more rapidly for DO schools. If the stats continue on this trend, it won’t be long before the DO MCAT and GPA scores are equivalent to the MD’s.

Bottom line is that, in general, MD and DO schools emphasize different things in an application. In some ways MD schools are more competitive than DO schools. However, in other ways, DO schools are more competitive than MD schools. Both types of schools are equally rigorous and both will produce many great physicians. After it’s all said and done, both DO’s and MD’s have the same jobs with the same patients.

For anyone on here saying that DO’s are less intelligent than MD’s, I’d like to see you try to get into a DO school. Every MD who has posted on this board has said that DO’s are their equivalents. Since you seem to think that MD’s are so smart, you’d think you’d listen to them when they say that DO’s are just as intelligent. Especially since many MD’s work with DO’s every day and many people posting on here have had very limited experience with DO’s and with medicine in general.

By anon263470 — On Apr 24, 2012

If M.D and D.O. training are so similar in every regard, with the exception of osteopathic manipulative medicine (which only 2 percent of D.O. graduates practice), does this justify having two separate degrees? Wouldn't it make more sense for all schools to be M.D. schools with the option of learning OMM (if OMM actually works based on evidence based medicine) as an elective?

If both schools have the same curriculum, and attend the same residencies, I see no point of D.O. Instead, what I think happened is that the demand to go to medical school far outweighed the number of seats to M.D. schools. So D.O schools proliferated as a backup plan for MD school rejects.

Therefore, D.O. students have no real difference in philosophy or training. They simply need to realize their school and degree are in place because D.O. schools realized they would be be profitable in accepting all the M.D rejects given the high demand of students to study medicine.

By anon258468 — On Apr 02, 2012

In my small town, the choice is a DO born and trained in USA, or an MD who barely speaks English and comes from a country in which the cultural norm is women should shut up and wear burqas.

I am female, and I like to understand and be understood when conversing about my health.

When living in Greater DC, I was misdiagnosed by a foreign MD, but had enough medical knowledge myself to refuse the diagnosis and leave the practice. I had pneumonia following flu, he was on pain meds after a ski accident and he diagnosed me with emphysema just by listening to my chest for one minute. I did not and do not have emphysema. This is six years later.

Since then, I have been referred to two MD's who erred in my treatment, one of whom would have done a major surgery on my throat with a one year survival rate post op, while the other failed to examine or X-ray for a back injury before sending me to physical therapy. Both were MD specialists.

Another MD dermatologist I went to for an exam of moles to screen for cancer acted like an idiot, did no mapping and seemed squeamish about checking moles. With none of these did I get an adequate diagnosis or treatment, but with each one, I was rushed through and charged a lot. In each case, my health was placed in jeopardy by their failures. These MD's do not live up to "Above all do no harm."

You must be your own advocate regarding your health care. You cannot do this with doctors who won't or can't hear you out. You can't do this part by part, because your body systems work together, not piecemeal.

My DO is the only physician I have seen in years who actually does anything to help. Now if we can only find competent specialists for referrals accepted by my ins.in my area, we might be able to work toward improving my health. Note I say we. Without patient input, no doctor can care adequately for the whole body of a patient. The doctor who won't listen is a quack of the worst sort.

By anon257807 — On Mar 28, 2012

D.O, M.D, or doctor from hell. What difference does it make now? You have so many problems in this country, economy is falling down, health care is being destroyed by uninsured debit and increased illness and aging, and all of you here are arguing on the difference between two doctors who can do the same thing, earn the same paycheck, and held to the same standards.

All of you here need a reality check, maybe a visit to africa, India, or south america. Maybe you will change your outlook on life matters and count your blessings. Bottom line: Ignorant is an m.d who thinks he is superior over a d.o, and a d.o who thinks he is inferior to an m.d.

By Simple — On Mar 22, 2012

The ratio of M.D. to D.O. is changing, and it’s changing fast.

In 2008, 20 percent of all US graduates were D.O.’s

In 2011, it was up to 24 percent of all graduates, and the enrollment numbers tell us that the trend won’t stop anytime soon.

In 2011, 30 percent of all first year medical students were D.O.’s.

By anon232210 — On Nov 29, 2011

It is true that most US MD programs are harder to get into than most US DO programs. However plenty of MDs who practice in the US got their education in the Caribbean because they could not get accepted into US MD or DO programs. Don't make the generalization that all MDs had better MCAT scores and a higher GPA in undergrad.

By anon229293 — On Nov 13, 2011

I am an anesthesiologist and I am a DO. I did my training at a very highly respected medical center alongside many MD's. It is ultimately the work ethic and training that makes the physician, not the letters behind the name.

By anon206189 — On Aug 15, 2011

I have to laugh at the flame wars that the medical students have going on. Real life shows that the route matters minutely. DO schools stats are closing in on the norm rather rapidly and they are currently one-fifth of all medical students (and supposedly continuing to grow at a fast pace). To debate the quality of either based on degree seems to be a moot point anymore. Both are US medical doctors and both get my business.

By anon202559 — On Aug 02, 2011

Thank the Lord for both of them!

By anon194558 — On Jul 08, 2011

one is not better than another. both are medical degrees, and it is up to the individual how good or bad are, not the letters behind name.

By anon175563 — On May 12, 2011

I think that those who are bashing the other profession, either M.D. or D.O., have not attained a level of professionalism. There are incompetent MDs and DOs, there are *excellent* MD and DO physicians. Poor MD and DO curriculums, rigorous DO or MD curriculums. Excellent residency matches, mediocre matches. The recent matches from my school(osteopathic) include Mayo Clinic, Harvard, Cleveland Clinic, Einstein/Beth Israel, etc. At the end, it comes down to the individual.

I personally preferred the DO route because the philosophy was a good fit for me. I wanted to focus on the complexities of the individual, rather than mainly on the patient as a disease process. The only MD school that I did consider is an accomplished, reputable medical center that incorporates the biopsychosocial model of medicine. In the end, I chose location.

Bottom line, I only have respect for the individual. I don't care if you are my DO colleague or MD colleague; if you are incompetent, not always thinking, or if you don't put the patient first, then it doesn't really matter where you obtained your degree.

By anon175078 — On May 11, 2011

@ anon175076: "despite correlations between the MCAT and Step 1 licensing exams, correlations between the latter and clinical performances are week. Performance as a physician correlates between with proficiency in the humanities and with personal characteristics such as motivation, conscientiousness, integrity, empathy, and robust psychological constitution."

- Cooper RA (2003) "Medical Schools and their applicants: an analysis". Health Aff (Milwood) 22 (4): 71-84

By anon175076 — On May 11, 2011

It's funny that its all medical students debating this. It shows that when you get into the "real world" not the classroom (where MD students feel superior and DO students feel defensive) none of this matters. It's medicine, we all practice it, but some approach it differently.

Most patients when they see a DO don't even know what a DO is the first time they see one. DO's probably come out of med school trained better musculoskeletally, and about the same as far as a medicine base goes. Be honest, you learn the most medicine third and fourth year -- and that's on the doctors that teach you in the hospital, not the academic physicians from the first two years.

By anon167025 — On Apr 11, 2011

I've read a few of the posts here about MD's vs DO's. Let me state the obvious facts. MD's are way better than DO's. Hands down. Look at the entering GPA and MCAT scores. Big difference. I know it doesn't tell you everything. However, it does tell you the work ethic and the academic potential of the groups in general. Enough said.

By root66 — On Mar 17, 2011

Over the years i have had some bad MDs treat me. All the MDs do is fill you up with meds and they just cover the real cause of your sickness. From now on, i will see just DOs. i am happy with my treatments from my DO doctor.

By anon159946 — On Mar 14, 2011

I'm a DO student and I can tell you the following: The GPA and MCAT scores of DOs are less than that of MDs. This means a couple of things. Firstly, there are definitely more smarty-pants, nerdy types in MD programs 2) However, there are more interesting, career changer, fun loving, well-rounded folks in my DO program (I've interacted with some of my MD cohorts, and thusly feel informed enough to make this opinion). 3) Neither of the above statements is always true

So anyway, there are definitely more smart kids in MD programs. It's an inarguable fact. But the key to understanding why this is mostly irrelevant is that medicine is not theoretical physics.

You don't need a 150 IQ to be a good doctor. More like, slightly above average intelligence. Trust me, med school is about memorization. I have yet to be challenged with any concept that required ample brain power to comprehend.

Thus, beyond the point of being slightly smarter than average, personality, work ethic, relatability, coolness, being a good team member, not being a big jerk and a desire to learn, matter much, much more than raw intellectual capacity.

Thusly, who gives a crap? DO, MD, means nothing. It's about the individual.

As a final side note, DO is are dumb sounding title. Wish they put a little more thought into that acronym. Oh well.

By anon153277 — On Feb 16, 2011

As an MD in training, I not only work with DOs in my training, but I also have chosen to see a DO as my doctor and have friends that are in DO training programs. I can definitely attest to the competency of these individuals in the performance of their jobs.

The distinction that I think needs to be made here is that there really is very little difference between the two programs. Even the idea of DOs treating the whole patient and spending more time with the patient is simply not true when a DO works in the same programs as MDs. In my experiences, the DOs behave exactly like the MDs (for example, I had a problem with my knee and the DO I saw was less interested in the "whole body approach: than the MD I had seen, but I went to him because he was a fantastic knee surgeon).

As someone who is training for an MD, I can tell you that we are not instructed to give pills and only fix what's broken. To the people that get this kind of MD, that is the person, not the degree and you can find people who stray from the program in any field.

MD, DO, the only real difference is one letter.

By anon151915 — On Feb 11, 2011

Truthfully, until now, I always planned to be MD. Why? Because it was "safe" because I cared about w hat other people would think of me.

That approach was deadly: as a future physician, I need to be confident in my hard work and training and not concerned about what people/superiors will think. At the ER in a well known MD school, the MD students freaked out and did not call the attending because they didn't want to look stupid for doing something unsuccessfully.

As a doctor, it should never be about how it looks, but the life. One of them should have ran to the attending while the other called nurses/doctors nearby. I will never, ever go by that bias again.

I've applied to both medical school types and have interviews from both. All I know is that the physician makes the name, not that the name makes the physician.

May both, MD and DO, provide the best quality of care.

By anon148915 — On Feb 02, 2011

And just as a side note for you anon142309: Most of us who are in the top of my class were once slackers in undergrad who took extra time to find direction. I have a buddy who graduated from your program and is now a neuroradiologist -- he too was a slacker in undergrad.

I have another buddy who slacked off in undergrad, but destroyed med school with superb grades and great USMLE/COMLEX scores and landed a residency at Johns Hopkins.

Point is, a lot of my DO buddies were slackers, but they killed it in med school, have great well rounded personalities as result of their experiences and have turned into phenomenal doctors - and that's what ultimately counts. This is a trend I've noticed with many of the top-notch DO students. Just some food for thought.

By anon148913 — On Feb 02, 2011

@anon142309 i have to say that *your* comment makes me ashamed to be a fellow DO student since you seem to have a problem with understanding simple English.

Never did I say that *all* DO students were individuals who were unable to go to MD schools, but let's face the facts: many of them are, which is what I wrote in my original entry. And it's sad because they don't ever truly appreciate and embrace the osteopathic approach to medicine. But whether this was due to a lack of academic maturity or a simple inability to excel in sciences, who knows, and in fact, who cares?

You're going to have former weak students in every profession. And if they exist in ours, they'll be weeded out via the COMLEX or USMLE. Additionally, never did I explicitly mention in my original post that most DO students were not in their 20's. I simply was explaining the mootness of some point somebody in the earlier posts had said about DOgs being "ex-frat boys". Again, read properly before you criticize.

I'm a first year DO student and have plenty of peers who were accepted into MD programs as well. I only went DO because I was in agreement with the DO philosophy, because this is simply where my life led me--- my father is an MD. In no way would I belittle my future profession, that would be counterintuitive, don't you think?

But generally speaking, I'm sure you can agree with me upon the fact that the average DO student is much more non-traditional than the MD student, and I do believe the average age is significantly higher. That was simply all I was trying to get at in my original comment.

I'm really not sure why you were offended. And it is embarrassing to me that an intelligent individual like yourself found my original post so hard to decipher. A lot of what you wrote in the "defense" of DO's is irrelevant, because I never bashed DO's on those grounds in the first place.

By anon144675 — On Jan 20, 2011

I had to have both knees replaced. My first doctor was a DO. That knee was great when he got done. He gave me a lot of very good care. He got a very good chance at a great job and he took it.

My right knee was done by an MD. I was not given the time or the one on one with it as I got with the left knee, and I had a much longer recovery with the last one. --wuee

By anon142309 — On Jan 12, 2011

@anon98440: I just want to say that your post makes me ashamed.

I am a current DO student, but let me tell you it's not because I couldn't get into an MD school. I interviewed in all Texas schools except 1 (Texas medical schools are very competitive, by the way) and got three acceptances on my first time applying. I had a competitive MCAT and GPA. The DO school in Texas became my first choice after my interview there and that's where I went.

After two years here, and comparing notes with my UT Southwestern friends, I can tell you that as a DO student I learn just as much, and in some cases even more, than my MD counterparts.

None of my classmates are slackers, and most of us are in our 20s so I don't know where that crap came from in the above comment. I like that, as a DO, I get to learn OMM, and thus will have the opportunity of providing my patient with an alternative if they wish, but honestly, like most comments here have stated, there really is no difference. I have seen both DOs and MDs in my life time, and some of the DOs were great and some I was disappointed with, and some of the MDs were great and, again, some of the MDs I was disappointed with.

Obviously there are more MDs, and most people don't know what a DO is and thus are uncomfortable, but I think if people really educate themselves they would see that we all learn the same thing, we go through the same process to get our license and we have the same training.

In fact, many DO students actually take two separate board exams. The DO board exam to get into third year rotations is the COMLEX, while the MD students take the USMLE. Many DO students take both the COMLEX AND the USMLE at the end of their second year, which gives them the option of getting into DO *and* MD rotations and later residencies.

About one-third of all medical school graduates are DOs, and if you look at the stats of most residency programs, for the most part, one third of their residents will be DOs. In other words, most of us are getting exactly the same training as MDs! We are held to the same standards, and in fact, higher standards, because often we take two exams where MDs take one, we take extra classes on top of what our MD counterparts take, and we complete the same residencies.

In the end, it's all about the individual doctor, and not the letters behind his or her name. I hope that the ignorance about DOs will end soon, and I have to say that many of the comments in this forum were very positive!

By anon133914 — On Dec 12, 2010

Who cares? At the end of the day the earning power is equivalent.

There are so many imported foreign physicians there is obviously a need for physicians. If people want to become D.O.'s who cares? More physicians to fill the gaps.

The physician is judged by their quality, not by their title. There are great D.O.'s and great M.D.'s. There are also bad D.O.'s and bad M.D.'s.

By anon133678 — On Dec 11, 2010

I once asked my doctor which of two certain medicines were the better. He looked at me and said it was like comparing apples to oranges -- whatever worked best for me. So I say, MD or DO, whatever works best for you.

By anon132661 — On Dec 07, 2010

For quite some time, I have been unhappy with my MD. He seems to always be in a hurry and it seems I talk to his nurse more than him.

Several months ago, a new doctor moved to town and set up her practice. She is a DO in Internal Medicine. I had been hearing really good things about her from my friends, so decided to give her office a call to set up an appointment to see for myself just how she was.

Unfortunately for me, her office said they were sorry, but that she was no longer accepting new patients at that time. Guess I wasn't the only one who had heard good things about the new DO doctor in town.

By anon132047 — On Dec 05, 2010

There is little difference between the two. My father dealt with various MDs prior to relocating, with very poor results. They pretty much wrote him off. Since being with us, he is seeing both for very complex issues.

His specialists are both OD and MDs, one carries both initials after his name. The main thing to be concerned with is the time they take to listen and their desire to actually deal with the whole body, not just numbers. From this perspective, we do prefer the DO doctors, to his MD doctors.

I really see no difference in quality of actual care, understanding, intelligence, or anything else. I think that worrying about initials is basically snobbery. If a doctor is good, it matters very little. Do an online search, read what patients say, and go from there. Ask questions, and go with who feels right. Don't assume that any one is better than the other, simply from the initials at the end of their title.

By anon126646 — On Nov 13, 2010

Recently I changed over to a DO from an MD (without knowing my new Doctor was going to be a DO) and I am way more satisfied with the level of care. My MD would only consider the most apparent symptoms that pointed to something she was familiar with, whereas the DO considers all of the symptoms no matter how insignificant, and tries to figure out the problem that way.

DOs listen more carefully to patients before making a diagnosis. Most MD's I have seen made a diagnosis based on what is listed on their appointment roster before even seeing me! I prefer to see a doctor who will spend more time examining and answering questions instead of just giving an unnecessary prescription right away and sending you off.

So far, I am thinking DO's have a better strategy and bedside manner than MD's.

By anon122771 — On Oct 29, 2010

I've had D.O.'s and M.D.'s. Some are good, some bad. I didn't notice that one was better than the other because of their title. Granted, once I know I'm seeing a D.O., I have been apprehensive about their advice over an M.D. Admittedly, this is because of my ignorance over one being "better" than the other.

After reading these comments, I'm just as confused as ever. Some claim that D.O.'s aren't worth a damn, then others claim that they're better than M.D.'s! Apparently, it's the doc, not the title.

By anon121872 — On Oct 25, 2010

I believe in the philosophy of osteopathy which is why I chose to become a DO. I was accepted to an MD program (UTMB)in the 90s and opted for the DO program. For those of us who are passionate about medicine, the philosophy is important. The program was intense and rigorous.

My classmates were highly intelligent and capable. I have now been practicing for ten years. With this new health care bill, we all have much more to worry about than the letters after the doctor's name.

By anon121661 — On Oct 25, 2010

Getting either an MD or a DO is no walk in the park! Competition for med school admission (on either side) is intense, then they have to toil for several years in internship and residency - more often than not, they work together in the same residency programs.

So both MDs and DOs are medical physicians; they just have different acronyms. They are legally and professionally equivalent in the U.S. I have no problem whatsoever using either.

By kcmiller — On Oct 20, 2010

The conflict between D.O.'s and M.D.'s is interesting but ancient history. The last battle they fought was in the 1960's in California when the University of California took over an old osteopathic school in Irvine, made it into an allopathic school, and converted the existing D.O. degrees into M.D. degrees. Basically, they forced the D.O.'s to call themselves M.D.s!

By anon119301 — On Oct 17, 2010

I'm wandering if the previous poster is upset because her husband's physician didn't do a good job of examining him and that she is suggesting this is because he is a DO.

There will always be good and bad doctors, and I don't think two letters behind a name makes one doctor better or more qualified than the other. Right now I am upset with my MD doctor. She breezes in the room with her computer and nurse, asks a few questions, and then is out within five minutes.

Last month she ordered tests and I was told if there were any problems, then I would be contacted. A month went by and I had to see her for something else. While she was busy hurrying to get out, I asked her the results of my test, since no one had called me.

You can only imagine how upset I was when, after reading the results, she informed me that my kidneys were under distress and she was very concerned about the results. Thank goodness I asked. My point is don't judge a doctor by his last two letters. If I did, then I would think all MD.s were idiots! Currently looking for the best MD or DO for me.

By anon118743 — On Oct 15, 2010

Today we went to a DO. We had seen him about two times before. There has never been a thorough exam of my husband's body. Symptoms have included numbness in his feet, low back pain, intestinal and urinary problems, insomnia, high blood pressure, etc. The DO barely touches him, today only a handshake. He had new symptoms and the DO didn't touch him. He just added a new prescription. The DO doesn't even run appropriate indicated tests.

I am not impressed and would like to investigate his credentials. How do I do this?

By anon115197 — On Oct 01, 2010

I'm 100 percent positive that those same insurance companies are using M.D's as well to monitor D.O. surgical fellows as well. Again, don't fall prey to ignorance.

Just because one Asian person you know happens to know karate, doesn't mean they all do. Case closed.

By anon106885 — On Aug 27, 2010

Why is it that an insurance company uses D.O's to approve or evaluate a medical necessity when recommended by an MD that became a fellow in a specialized medical field?

By anon103651 — On Aug 13, 2010

What's all the fuss? When you come in to the ER you never asked a doctor if they are a D.O. or a M.D. you just get your medical care and leave. I personally have a D.O. and I am very happy with my medical care. Do the research, don't judge. If you're comfortable with your medical care, that's all that counts.

By Sandra Rivera — On Aug 03, 2010

I'm looking for a PCP and am considering a DO. I saw one for a while last year, but he's not on my current ins. plan. I was an RN before my body went south and am familiar with many high quality MD med schools. I'd really appreciate it if someone who's familiar with DO med schools would let me know of some good ones to aid me in my search for a DO.

For the record, I am specifically looking for a DO because I am interested in finding a doctor who does look at the whole patient. Yes, there are more MDs doing this now that there have been in the past, but it's been my experience that too many still tend to focus on a disease than the person. I believe that there are quality practitioners in both disciplines.

After a lifetime of being treated by MDs, and I am still treated by some specialists. I've decided that my health might be better served by a DO as a PCP.

Thanks, in advance, to any who respond with the info I'm seeking.

By anon98441 — On Jul 23, 2010

And for the hilarious individuals who determined (based on one bad experience with a DO physician) that they would never return to a DO or that all DOs are bad, does that mean if you were to next meet an MD who was terrible (or more likely had a slip-up because both DO's and MD's are people, too - obviously you are a gift from God and are perfect in every facet of life and never make mistakes) you would stop seeing all doctors? Who then would you turn to? Are you going to perform your own surgeries?

Get out of your box. It's people like you who have made racism and negative prejudice so rampant throughout our history and even today. You meet one person from one background who has a slip-up or who happens to be a bad individual, and you amplify that negative perception to the rest of the group.

The angry man shuts his eyes and opens up his mouth.

By anon98440 — On Jul 23, 2010

Funny posts. I'm an upcoming DO student. And here are my two cents to clear up some of the gray areas and misunderstandings - embrace it, because being educated with the right information is much better than being seen as ignorant.

Why do I call many of you ignorant? Because many of you decided that your individual speculation based off of limited experiences or lack of legitimate information warrants you to make some kind of meaningful judgment call on the credibility and qualifications of DOs as physicians.

DOs are essentially the equivalent of MDs nowadays with some ancient philosophical differences that most DOs don't even acknowledge today (Some do, like myself). Yes, it is true, many DOs choose to go DO because they cannot get into the traditional allopathic medical school (MD). As far as academic credentials are concerned, I believe the averages for MD schools are MCAT: 30 GPA 3.6 whereas D.O. is MCAT 26 GPA 3.5 but remember, there is a significantly larger number of MD programs than DO and they do not want to go abroad (Caribbean, etc. - some schools which, by the way, don't even have a minimum MCAT requirement - and many of which graduate many of the MD's that you now see in the states - want to talk about low entrance requirements?) to obtain their medical degrees.

But to the person who referred to DO's as "ex-frat boys", so what? Some people choose to have fun in their lives, neglect responsibilities, and whether that happens in an individual's 20s, 30s, 40s, fact is, I'd rather have a doctor treating me who got that out of their system in their teens and 20's and as a result isn't (whether MD or DO) socially inept or awkward and knows how to truly listen because she/he knew how to have a good time in their early years and socialized, than have some walking fact bank who has the sociability of a piece of cardboard. I've noticed most DO's are the former of the aforementioned descriptions. But here's the catch: whether they were goof offs in college or not, most choose to take the same USMLE board examinations (in fact a very small percentage of DO's actually practice osteopathic manipulation - I think it's as low as 2 percent but don't hold me to that) as their MD counterparts (whether the MD is from Harvard or the Caribbean), all have to compete for recommendation letters from the same attendings, and make sure they do a pretty damn good job in both areas since they are placed into specific specialties (residencies) based on how they perform.

So, who cares what grade they received in Philosophy 101 or Fundamentals of College Life in their freshman year of college because they spent too much time partying/socializing? Does the lack of proper knowledge of Plato's philosophical beliefs make or break the efficacy of any physician? No. As long as they worked their butts off when it counted (as in, in medical school - since medical school is where you learn everything about being a doctor - enough said) who really cares?

In fact, tons of books being published by MDs nowadays are noting the fact that many medical students (both MD and DO I am assuming) essentially are garbage when it comes to thinking outside of the box because they are so fixed on facts/set algorithms (a consequence of having an inability to properly assess a patient with proper social protocol).

For those of you who are unconvinced read the book "How Doctors Think" (it's written by a MD from Harvard). The statistics listed in them are real eye-openers. A huge percentage of diseases/conditions go misdiagnosed simply because a doctor didn't truly listen to a patient, assess the patient's demeanor, etc. A guy/girl who has had meaningful interaction with a wide spectrum of people his/her whole life is going to be a whole lot better at assessing a person's disposition and listening than a guy/girl who had his/her nose stuck in a textbook all throughout high school and college.

At the end of the day though, whether MD or DO, you're always going to come across a bad seed just like you would in any other area of your life. People aren't automatons who simply go off of the way they were trained. They are individuals whose personalities and intellectual capabilities are expressed in everything that they do. As such, all MD's don't all behave the same exact way, and similarly, not all DO's do either. You're going to find people who are equally inept on both sides.

Anyway, who am I to say all of this, as in, what are my qualifications? No. I'm not some biased D.O. I stick to the facts. I was your typical nerd in the sense that I was at the top of my class, top in everything really up until sophomore year of high school (New England ranked tennis player, all-state cellist, new-england cellist, all-state pianist). Then, I decided I wanted to play for the next eight years of my life. I rebelled, moved around a lot for colleges after high school, was academically unfocused, etc. However, I was into fitness and nutrition and was a personal trainer and ultimately decided that the D.O. program was a better fit for me (even though my father is a MD). Does that make me less intelligent than Joe Schmoe who is a MD at Harvard? No. Less academically mature during those eight years, yes. I made a 1420 (old format) on my SATs after going out the night before, I had a 3.8 in high school but never did an ounce of homework, I made a 30 on my MCAT by studying for only 11 days (having taken physics/biochem/chem when I was a partying/not learning in undergrad).

I had a 4.0 my last 64 hours college/graduate hours because I finally decided that medicine was where I wanted to be. Am I trying to brag? No. Just simply saying I could've gone to Harvard if I really wanted to. But I wasn't ready to study because I wasn't sure that medicine was for me yet. And maybe that's my loss.

But on the flip side, I met lots of people, I experienced things that many both younger and older MD's would've loved to have experienced when they were younger. I came to know firsthand, what "perspective" really was - that is, the different perspectives of every individual and how to be empathetic and relate to all people (regardless of social standing, race, etc.). My empathy for all people is what made me spend 30 minutes writing this on this page. It's my experiences that sets me apart, and it's my experiences that led me to the DO profession, and I couldn't be happier.

And some food for thought. If you really think D.O.s are inferior to M.D.s, look at their equal salaries. Look at how many place into great Anesthesiology, PMR, General Surgery (all 200-300k jobs on average)MD residencies. Look at William Kirby, D.O. (Doctor 90210). Look and be jealous, then humble yourself, because ultimately, whatever you may think of a D.O., you're probably not a doctor yourself, and you will never be able to do what we do. Case closed.

By anon97766 — On Jul 21, 2010

English is my third language so please excuse my grammar.

If you look at the average MCAT score and GPAs, sure US MD schools have higher averages than DO schools. But that does not mean that everyone who got into an MD school will have higher scores than all those student at DO schools.

My wife had a higher GPA but one point MCAT score lower than her cousin. My wife did not get into a MD school but her cousin did. Also one of her classmates (undergrad in US) from Africa had a lower MCAT and GPA but was able to get into an MD school. One of her other undergrad classmates did not get into either DO or MD school in the US but now she is in Ross Medical School (Dominican Republic) where she will get her MD.

We just had a family reunion, and both my wife and her cousin talked what they are studying, and they are the same except my wife is learning osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT). Statistically it is harder to get into MD school, but they both study medicine and DO adds osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT).

We already had two kids when she went back to get her undergrad, but she was a straight "A" student at a highly competitive private school. Who knows what would have happened if she had waited another year to reapply at the MD school or apply at multiple MD schools at different states? She likes the philosophy of DO so unless she gets into a MD school in our state, she wanted to go to DO school if we are going to have to leave our state.

My point is that it is not always true that DO students are less qualified than MD students. If you look at the statistics, most MD student get admitted on their second application/attempt. If my wife had waited another year to reapply who knows what would have happened, but when you're already 30+ with kids you don't have the time to wait another year.

If someone really cares about being an MD they can always go to the Caribbean med schools.

By anon97524 — On Jul 20, 2010

It's sad that anyone finds it necessary to defend acronyms based on stats, personal successes and failures and that of friends and relatives. Education of anatomy and physiology of the body starts with the individual.

Regardless of which doctor you go to, if you can't give him a decent description of what's going on with your body, he has to test you until something from the lab identifies a recognizable symptom. Then you are appeased with a med that purports to relieve (or mask) what ails you.

You, the patient should make time to research your prognosis, and see if your symptoms fit that description. When you go to any doctor it helps him if you've written down what you're experiencing at the time it happens.

Doctors are not mind readers and can only treat what you describe or the lab reports. People go in with "it hurts here" and expect a miracle or overnight cure. Some ailments require prevention as well as participation on the patient's part.

If you're not well in a couple of weeks, something is wrong with the doctor even though you were told it would take a couple of weeks for medicine to get into your system? A lot of people do not take their meds as prescribed and blame the medical system. A similar attitude is taken on whether any doctor should pray with his patient. I think that should be a part of HIPPA--doctor/patient confidentiality.

No two doctors will practice identically and no two will have the same bedside manner, patience or cure rate. No two patients will have same experience with same doctor for different conditions or illnesses. Part of the healing process is dependent on the patient and that's where more people fail -- in being proactive in the full process instead of waiting for the medical community to do a faith healing clinic. Health care is expensive for the patient, the doctor and the hospital. Patients coming in telling the medical staff what they need to do will always have a slower recovery because they've diagnosed themselves improperly and now want the medical community to make it right.

Start the process by using your common sense and your intuition. If not pleased, get a second opinion should you desire but do not badmouth the doctor who didn't immediately give you "something" for pain without knowing what caused the pain. Put yourself on both sides of the bed.

Sometimes doctors make bad patients themselves because they are over-worked and sometimes people turn doctors into negative staff by not following directions. Get to know your doctor (that takes time), give him a good medical history so he knows what he's working with, take your current meds with you (don't guess) and be what you went into the office as -- patient!

If you don’t want to be treated by someone trained in a medical profession, seek someone with ‘any’ letters at the end of their name. See if you get well right away or A-1 treatment every time. Something to think about: Jesus was a carpenter. Who went to which med school?

By anon96506 — On Jul 15, 2010

I am a DO, and extremely proud to be one. My training is equivalent to that of my allopathic counterparts. I have been taught to treat every patient I see as I would treat a family member. This I do with great pride and if/when I am unable to do so, it will be time to retire.

I never applied to allopathic schools. Would I have been rejected there? Who knows? Who cares? I work in busy ER settings and to my knowledge, nobody is overly fixated on the initials after my name, which really don't matter at all.

If I ever see you, I will take good care of you.

By anon94148 — On Jul 07, 2010

Have to agree with anon93810. Why argue who is better, MD or DO?

I was told that DOs wanted DO behind their name, instead of MD, because they were proud of being a DO.

I say, whatever floats your boat as long as you are doing your job. I've noticed lately that a lot of offices/ads just say "Dr. so and so", leaving off the last two letters. Good because I am going to research any doctor, MD or Do, before I make my choice and I will pick the right doctor for me and if that doctor is a DO, then so be it. I just want the best doctor for me.

By anon93810 — On Jul 05, 2010

I don't see why everyone is arguing about which is better M.D. or D.O. They are both medical doctors, do pretty much the exact same thing, and make the same amount of money. They are both careers to kill for and make more money the first year they graduate then almost any other occupation.

By anon91054 — On Jun 19, 2010

If DO's and MD's work in the same hospital side by side, make the same amount of money for doing the same exact job, then in my book, that makes them equal.

I work in a hospital where both MD's and DO's work side by side. I have noticed that the younger generation of new doctors don't give a

hoot what their fellow co-workers have behind their name, as long as they both are doing their jobs, so I say don't judge a doctor by the last two letters after his name. Do your research and pick the best doctor for you.

By anon90754 — On Jun 17, 2010

The fact of the matter is: if you're hit by a truck and are taken to the ER, a DO and a MD are going to do the same things. The letters following their name make no difference as long as they are keeping you alive.

By anon90640 — On Jun 17, 2010

Here are the facts:

1.)Some MDs are obnoxious and obviously in it for the money.

2.)Some DOs are excellent doctors.

3.) MD schools are much harder to get into.

By anon90201 — On Jun 15, 2010

It is also my opinion that most D.O.'s are D.O.'s because they couldn't get into an M.D.-granting medical school. One only has to read the posts of doctor-wannabes to see that many D.O. students would give their eyeteeth for that title M.D. I don't know of any M.D.'s or M.D. students saying, "I want to be a D.O."

By anon88535 — On Jun 05, 2010

As more undergraduates are starting to apply to DO schools, the average required GPA and MCAT scores of both MD and DO schools are becoming more similar, and in some cases, may only be separated by 1 or 2 points.

Recently, it is becoming more competitive to get into a DO school, as more students are applying. Some people think by going to a MD school, a person must be smarter and better qualified than a person going to a DO school. What a childish assumption. So, you are saying that a teacher graduating from a 40,000 student enrollment university must be smarter and better qualified than a teacher who graduates from a 5,000 student enrollment college? Think again.

The best teacher my son ever had graduated from a small college and I would put her up against any teacher from a large university, so it's really all in the person who does the best job for you.

In 2007, there were 25 colleges of osteopathic medicine in 31 locations. One in five medical students in the United States is enrolled in an osteopathic medical school.

By 2020, the number of osteopathic physicians will grow to 95,400, say expert predictions, according to the American Medical Association.

By anon88482 — On Jun 05, 2010

I am 100 percent certain DO is a back up plan for those who cannot get into an M.D. medical school!

When I was an undergrad in biology, everyone who got rejected from MD school got into DO school including students with C averages!

Also, DO's are starting their own residencies for specialty training. My Dermatologist spent four years after med school just looking at skin. I know a DO who shadowed a local doctor for just one year and became "board certified."

By anon88416 — On Jun 04, 2010

"I think most of the D.O. are people who can't get into medical school."

Are you kidding me? I can't believe that someone would post that comment. So where does the poster think medical DOs get their medical training.? MDs and DOs train side by side in rotations, residencies, etc. in the same hospitals and take the same boards before coming full pledged doctors.

You will find DOs practicing in every branch of medicine. Recently when I had surgery, I spent several days in the hospital. I knew my doctor was getting ready to retire and so I started asking the nurses (who would know doctors they work with better than the nurses) who they would recommend if I ever needed surgery again. To my surprise, all of them named this new doctor who had joined the staff a year before.

I did not know him and did my research. He came highly recommended by everyone I talked to, and guess what? He was a DO!

Oh by the way, my anesthesiologist was a DO that I had requested.

The poster goes on to say that his friend had great grades and MCAT scores, but did not get into an MD school -- sounds like their loss -- yet, our American MD schools will take a foreign student before they will take our American students. Why is that? Do they think overseas students make better doctors and are superior to our American educated students?

I was shocked to see the number of foreign doctors practicing medicine in my town. Make no mistake, I don't care if a doctor is a MD, DO, or even earned his undergraduate degree in a foreign country before enrolling in our American medical schools, I just want the best person for the job. my life depends on it!

I am upset that the poster would think DOs do not attend medical schools. Both DOs and MDs attend medical school. MDs are really Doctors of Allopathic medicine, but have always used MD for recognition of their occupation. DOs are Doctors of Osteopathic medicine, but choose to use the initials DO instead of MD, so both are medical doctors.

One last thing: my cousin is doing his residency in Anesthesiology and, yep, you guessed it, he is a DO. We are so proud of him!

By anon88082 — On Jun 02, 2010

My friend tried to get into medical school three times! Excellent grades and mcat and still can't get in So she got tired and got accepted to D.O. school. I think most of the D.O. are people who can't get into medical school.

By anon87178 — On May 28, 2010

M.D.s are absolutely not superior to D.O.s. I have a friend whom I consider to be smarter than I am who is in a D.O. school, and I am doing an MD. I am 100 percent positive that she will be an excellent doctor and I have no problem going to D.O.s.

Many DOs end up doing the same residency programs alongside MDs so the clinical training is essentially identical.

It's what you do that counts, not your degrees.

By anon86033 — On May 23, 2010

"Choose a doctor based on his/her competence and compassion, not on his/her sheepskin. Choosing a doctor by the letters behind their name is like picking a car by the color of paint. It's all in the preference. Grow up people!"

Using this analogy, we can assume that choosing an MD over a DO is like choosing a combustion engine that works from the outside in(MD), instead of a combustion engine that works from the inside out(DO).

The philosophy differences makes all the difference in competency and training. If I teach you to look directly at the light while working on it (MD) or to look away from the light and work with your hands(DO) which one do you think is better?

My philosophy is, choose the better thought process. If looking at any problem in the world and thinking that it doesn't cause any other problems or that the problem wasn't caused by another problem, I'd be ignorant. Everything in a living cell is interconnected, so for an MD treat symptoms of a problem rather then treating an ailment, then you have yourself an ignorant doctor.

Not saying that every doctor is true to the philosophy taught. Just saying, if that was true I'd pick the DO and have my stuff fixed in a week than pick the MD and deal with my problems until another problem arises for the MD to treat the symptoms of it, you know?

Correct diagnosis includes all variables of the body(DO), because everything is interconnected, correct?

By anon79681 — On Apr 23, 2010

DO's are stupid. My daughter had being seeing one for two years or so. she was lazy and dumb. I finally went off on her and told her that she was half of a doctor. I'll stick with MD's to treatment. MD's know best. The DO never did anything to treat or help my child. DO stands for do do.

By anon78616 — On Apr 19, 2010

DO's are getting more of the department head promotions in the areas of diagnosis and hands on medicine, and they have the edge when it comes to diagnosing. They are fantastic emergency medical doctors. Edward Via, along with the government, is training Do's in disaster medicine as well.

They are fast and understand the full function of the body, its injuries, and connections. On the other hand many MD's are going into research, and leaving the hands on field. You don't see this yet but it is happening.

They work together in hospitals as a fine tuned team. Both DO's and MD's continue in the areas of surgery and special fields. Their training is not only the same the schools, but both MD and do have DO's and MD's instructors. Many MD's are attending schools like Edward via in Virginia, which is connected to VT and has what is proclaimed as the school with the highest and best technology in the country.

MD's from other countries have visited there to try to copy some of this the past summer. Do's and MD's are great doctors and are all but the same. The only difference is approach, not knowledge or school.

Remember there are MD schools outside the country that could not shake a stick at our US. Osteopathic schools. By the way, Some MD schools are also teaching the manipulations and full body connection of disease. The lines are blurred.

It, like MBA, MIB, same degree, same training just different letters! Had to go so I typed fast. forgive the spelling.

By anon76679 — On Apr 11, 2010

D.O.'s are jokes. Those who say they chose to go to D.O. school despite having the option to go the other were just afraid to compete against the best of the brightest. True, some MD's may not care as some DO's, but the same could be true the other way around. Statistics have it that on average, MD's score higher on MCATs and have better GPAs. What does that translate to? Go see a DO if you need to see an internal med/family practice doctor. Go see an MD if you want someone who's specialized (i.e oncology, radiology, endocrinology etc).

By anon76590 — On Apr 11, 2010

Right now there are more MD's because there are more MD schools, but new DO schools are opening up every year.

In the near future, there will be an equal amount of MD and DO doctors to choose from. I also did some research and found out that DO medical schools tend to accept the "non-traditional" student as compared to a MD school. These students are usually older than the average MD first year student.

This is due to the fact many have chosen to change careers. They are former RNc, EMTs, biology teachers, military personnel. etc. My husband recently had surgery and his anesthesiologist was a DO who had come highly recommended from his MD surgeon.

I guess what bothers me is the fact that our American MD schools accept so many students from other countries before they accept our American students.

I live in a town where foreign born doctors are almost equal in number as American born doctors. Do MD schools think the foreign undergraduate student is more qualified in be accepted into their school? The bottom line is do your research on any doctor you are considering. Look for his qualifications and history of service, not whether he has a MD or DO behind his name.

By anon71319 — On Mar 18, 2010

Here is the scoop. I'm an M.D. and my daughter is a D.O. Yes, she applied to M.D school and no luck. I think it's her letter of intention and her MCAT score of 25 that was the reason.

Having said that, we both studied the same material and practice the same. This country is strange. they need to strike out the name D.O and admit the thousands of Americans who are qualified to schools instead of bringing in those foreign medical gads from all over the fourth world countries to doctor our people when some of them don't even know English and kill Americans back. they can't speak the language.

Is one smarter than the other? Maybe. My opinion is one is more professional in taking tests than the other. what counts is who has a good bedside manner and who cares about you.

I noticed most of you said that here. well, I have polio and was a patient all my life and my daughter has M.S and we both are patients and that's why we both care.

Hope that explains everything.

By anon70737 — On Mar 16, 2010

If I had to see a doctor either a MD or a DO and knew nothing of either I would run screaming from the MD into the arms of the DO.

In my experience DOs tend to give a damn, have less of a "God Complex," will admit when they don't know, and in general have more knowledge in how the medical prescribed will actually affect the body.

I recently went through a great medical trauma in my life. I suffered for 18 months in great pain and couldn't get the several MDs I saw to give me even the least amount of pain reliving medication. However, the last two doctors I saw, one a family doctor (who actually still makes house calls) and the other a specialist happened to be DOs. Surprise, surprise -- they found I actually had a medical problem that required surgery.

After seeing many MDs who first didn't give a damn, and second, whose main concern about my health was if I had paying health insurance, and third, couldn't read a simple X-ray, I have decided if given the choice, I will always chose a DO.

They're just better doctors. No, they're actually doctors rather than MDs who are nothing more than revenue generating sources. To put it bluntly, I don't trust MDs anymore. No, that's not right, either -- I hate them. MDs are useless human debris whose only contribution to society is they generate taxable income.

By anon70597 — On Mar 15, 2010

In the past some people did go to D.O. school because they couldn't get into M.D. school. But this is no longer true. Most D.O.'s apply and get accepted into M.D. school but choose to go to D.O. school because they agree more with the way they practice and look at medicine more than they do the M.D. side.

By anon70595 — On Mar 15, 2010

D.O. and M.D. go through the same classes and take the same tests to become board certified in what ever area they choose.

I work for a D.O. who is a high school dropout and is one of the smartest doctors I know because he applied himself and studied his butt off to get where he is now.

Then I also worked with an M.D. who was Valedictorian of his medical school and got a 4.0 throughout his undergrad work. I wouldn't trust this guy to work on a dead mouse, much less a human.

Who cares if M.D. schools are harder to get into then O.D. schools? It's the person and the intentions of the person who is treating you that counts, not the title of their medical degree. You have both M.D.'s and D.O.'s who go to work for the money. On the flip side you have others who go to work because they enjoy their job and want to help people.

And for the record: in the past it was harder for D.O.'s to get into internships but for someone to say that now needs to do some research. There are more M.D. schools out there so naturally it's going to look like there are more M.D. residents then O.D.'s. But if you look at it per capita, they're almost dead even. It changes every year.

By anon70099 — On Mar 11, 2010

This was an interesting article. The first doctor I saw when I got to Seattle was a DO. I asked her one day what the difference was between a DO and an MD (I was a teen so she kept it simple I think) and she said they both go through the same training but DOs get the additional musculoskeletal training (inc manipulations) and as the article said, they tend to look at the whole body not just individual systems.

She did a manipulation on my neck once (that had gone stiff within a minute, scaring me to death) and it felt great after 10 minutes. I work for a medical network and I wish we had a DO on our staff because I won't go to a chiropractor. Only an MD or DO is going to mess with my spine.

By anon69982 — On Mar 11, 2010

I've worked with MD's and DO's in many settings. I always felt that they were equal in knowledge and that there were poorly skilled doctors in each. As for D.O.'s not being as good as their MD counterparts, I would offer Lt.Gen. Ronald Blanck as at least some proof that they are a respected physician, since he was the Surgeon General of the Army from 96-00. Picking your doctor based solely on MD or DO is ridiculous. Your doctor is a person, pick the person, not the letters.

By anon68064 — On Feb 28, 2010

To those arguing that it is more difficult to get into MD schools than DO schools:

While the average MD scores are higher, I know many unqualified classmates who were accepted for other reasons. I also know several DO students who are much more intelligent than these classmates of mine. The MD admissions process is a joke. They place hometown as a criteria above undergraduate school.

By anon67475 — On Feb 24, 2010

I saw an M.D. the other day in my Dr.s offices and they did not take the time to listen to me.

So I suffered all week with my C.O.P.D.

I called the office the next week (giving the med the doctor gave me time to work) I see a D.O. They gave me the right stuff and I was treated in the office and was able to breathe and walk again.

But then again my daughter was very sick and on her death bed. she had seen 5 peds Dr in 1 week and I found one that was great and saved her life. It all goes on your looking and people recommending to you a good M.D. or D.O.

By anon63793 — On Feb 03, 2010

As has been said above, there are good and bad MD's and good and bad DO's. My experience lately was that I was treated by a MD for two months and the problem persisted. I was, as you can imagine, frustrated beyond belief.

One visit to a highly recommended DO, and my problem was on its way to being fixed. I had immediate relief from the "in office" treatment, and within three visits I was cured.

Good and bad everywhere, get a recommendation from people who have similar issues, and you'll be surprised at the results.

I actually know of a MD who is working that has had a stroke. Can you imagine being treated by that doc?

Everyone has told him he needs to retire, but he won't listen. Now we have an extremely competent DO in town, and his business is booming. Go figure.

By anon62936 — On Jan 29, 2010

Most D.O.'s are D.O.'s because they did not get into medical school. They then spend the bulk of their careers trying to "justify" their "choice" by trying to be different. Check the NIH data.

By anon62458 — On Jan 26, 2010

I have a friend who is a DO. She was accepted to medical schools for MD's and DO's. She chose to go to a DO medical school because she liked the philosophy better.

She has friends who graduated from MD medical schools. When they compared notes my friend, (the DO) had much more knowledge and hands on training than her MD counterparts. MD's are fine, but DO's are fine too. DO's are not beneath MD's.

Today, my friend, the DO is an organ transplant surgeon. She's no slouch. For those of you who think MD's are superior, get off your high horse and get over yourselves.

By anon57104 — On Dec 20, 2009

anon30216, please don't claim to present factual information when you have nothing to back up your statements.

The philosophy behind the medicine is the main difference. And DO's *do* go to med school. The majority of the DO's I have worked with (mostly coming from MSU's Osteopathic school) have been excellent in their care and bedside manner.

I have met some great MD's as well, but I have always been more satisfied with DO's providing my care and my family's care. Unfortunately there are always going to be "bad" doctors--regardless of the letters after their name.

There are only about 23 or so DO schools in the country, but the profession is expanding. It is currently very competitive to get into either allopathic or osteopathic schools. Just like allopathic schools, some osteopath schools do have lower standards for MCAT scores and undergrad transcripts, etc. It's the same for any professional school.

By anon55300 — On Dec 06, 2009

To anon36755 - my advice is to get a new girlfriend. she is obviously jealous of your doctor, keep your doctor and let her pick her doctor. perhaps she could start with a shrink!

By anon53953 — On Nov 25, 2009

You know as someone else said - it all comes down to the person. What type of doctor will they made - it really doesn't matter if they are a DO or MD - a caring good doctor will help you or find a way to help you.

I have seen both but my doctors have always been the kind that are caring and go the extra bit to make sure their patients are cared for.

Those of you who say you won't see a DO again -you met the wrong one. You can't judge a whole group of people by one person - that is plain ignorant.

By anon53537 — On Nov 22, 2009

It is silly to compare MDs and D.Os. Every group has outstanding physicians and their share of less than competent individuals.

Most undergrads apply everywhere and take the school that accepts them. Even the best schools graduate a few idiots and the less prestigious schools graduate some great physicians.

A physician based on their abilities is better than a graduate admitted because of affirmative action quotas.

By anon53464 — On Nov 21, 2009

Yeah, I wonder what intelligence and aptitude have to do with medicine?

Please, all of my friends who applied to DO schools also applied to MD schools, and would have killed to get into one.

If you want to put your life in the hands of an ex-frat boy who doesn't know his butt from his elbow, but "is more personable", feel free to see a DO.

By anon52876 — On Nov 17, 2009

Yare all a bunch of crazy people. I have worked extensively with both DOs and MDs, and they all receive the same training. they all can be equally competent or incompetent. The quality of your physician, whether an MD or DO, and their practice will be based on their attitude and experience. An MD can screw up as often as a DO and vice versa.

If you believe that illness is a problem of the entire Dody system, then go see a DO. If you would like to treat the symptoms, and hopefully relieve the illness, see an MD. DOs typically look at the whole system and look for what is causing the illness, while and MD treats from the symptom, outward. This is a general philosophy, and each doctor will be different.

Choose a doctor based on his/her competence and compassion, not on his/her sheepskin. Choosing a doctor by the letters behind their name is like picking a car by the color of paint. It's all in the preference. Grow up people!

By anon52274 — On Nov 12, 2009

M.D.'s and D.O.'s are both equally qualified physicians and/or surgeons. Both complete four years of undergraduate medical education, both complete the same graduate medical education (residencies) in the same facilities, and both pass the same licensing exams.

Choose your physician based on the recommendations from previous patients or other physicians, not based on the two letters after the name.

By anon52009 — On Nov 10, 2009

I recently worked with a D.O. for a back injury. after two months of intense p.t. she claimed that i was at a plateau with my back, so she released me. two weeks later, after a walk, i bent down to untie my shoes and my back gave out! back at square one! needless to say, i won't be going back to her. she didn't listen to my opinion, which was that i felt my body wasn't ready yet!

By anon51751 — On Nov 09, 2009

I just found this site now because I was researching lung doctors because I was not happy with the one I had several years ago. I did not know until I just checked that he is a DO. It left a bad impression with me.

I will stick to MD's thank you. I don't need someone to tell me my total body is out of whack. I already know that. I'm want my symptoms treated because I got a cold in September and it won't leave my lungs.

By anon50491 — On Oct 29, 2009

I got on here to find out what the difference was between a M.D. and a D.O. but all I got was a bunch of people arguing about who was smarter. All I can add is, I just came from the ER where my MD had sent me to with orders and was told by a DO that they don't pay any attention to the doctor's orders, so needless to say, I was not put in the hospital as my MD had ordered, but given a breathing treatment and an IV of steroids and sent home. they did say I could come back if I started feeling worse later. So I have decided I will stick with my MD.

By anon49797 — On Oct 22, 2009

I have a 3.93 GPA and 33 MCAT, applied to both types of schools, and got accepted to both. I chose the DO school because of the attitudes of the current students when I went to interview. They were, as a whole, there because they wanted to help people, and were so incredibly positive and friendly. Many of them wandered over during the day to chat and see if we needed anything. Many of those interviewing at the all schools were arrogant, and cocky, and the attending students ignored those of us there to interview. So, I suppose you will find more DOs in free clinics because they truly care about their fellow beings. And, you will find the competitive, arrogant ones in the high paying specialties because they also really care, only they care about the money more. In reality, it does not matter whether the name is followed by MD or DO because basically the training is the same. What matters is how good the individual is. Research the individual, ignore the letters. If you have a good rapport, and the person is well regarded and competent, then you have a winner.

By anon47565 — On Oct 05, 2009

I am wondering if my D.O. is truly qualified, or if he just failed to gain acceptance into a medical school. He has always been very quick to write a prescription and give injection shots. I have diabetes and he has never recommended that I see an endocrinologist.

By anon46876 — On Sep 29, 2009

M.D.'s and D.O.'s are both physicians with an equal arsenal to heal a patient, it just depends on how dedicated the physician is, not DO or MD. Just because one got a 28 on the MCAT vs a 30 does not clearly make the 30 better, it just means he took that test better. They are both equally as qualified.

By anon43394 — On Aug 28, 2009

I had been taking Nexium for acid reflux for 10 years and my MD insisted it had no side effects. My bone density test showed I was heading towards osteoprosis in my 40s. I couldn't understand why since I take a lot of calcium. My current doctor saw my tests and said I was losing bone density because of the side effect from Nexium. I did not know she was a DO at the time. I have been working with her for the last two years and I think she is the best doctor I have ever met. If all DOs are as good as my doctor, I would recommend always going to a DO.

By anon43339 — On Aug 27, 2009

I have suffered severely with fibromyalgia for years. Fibromyalgia is a muscle/skeletal disorder, accompanied with debilitating fatique, bowel agitation, headaches, and diminished cognitive issues. For ten years I was successfully treated by very patient MDs. My recent MD of five years no longer practices so I have been searching for a new family physician. I saw a young, female, DO. She did not only refuse to treat my disorder and symptoms, she wouldn't even shake my hand! I am appalled to read that DOs are supposedly "hands-on", as that is the preliminary guide for diagnosis. She is a disaster, I would never see another DO.

By anon43160 — On Aug 26, 2009

I work with an MD and a DO in a breast cancer surgical practice. We do volumetric ultrasounds (only 40 of these devices worldwide and 21 in the nation), u/s biopsies, stereotactic biopsies, skin punches, radiation baloon placement post-surg, etc. Our DO has been at our practice for just over a year and *still* is unable to insert and smoothly deploy for a wire loc (J-Wire/Hawkins Wire) without the aide of our MD. This DO is a surgeon as well. When a simple pre-surg wire is a struggle, when the stereotactic coordinates are in place and the DO changes the approach, it will be wrong. Then the MD is called in to the rescue to find out why it doesn't look right. Both doctors have great bedside manner and take time to answer our patients' questions. Or I'll do it. When choosing a doctor, no one with cancer really cares how the doctor's bedside manner is as long as they get treated. They don't care if they don't sit in the room for an hour, delaying other cancer patients (like the DO does) listening to how the cat broke it's leg and has to be put down. When it comes to medicine, the patient comes first and when selecting a specialist, go for the one with the most experience. People have a choice. It's like choosing a religion. Do you go for the tried-and-true religion that's been around centuries or the new hip mianstream guy down the road who thought starting a religion would be a great idea? Pick who you feel serves you the best. It's your body and if possible, google your doc! Our MD gets an unfathomable amount of patients via internet. I'm curious to know what it's like to get "Googled".

By anon43064 — On Aug 25, 2009

MD's are the biggest drug dealers in the country. 70 percent of MD's prescribe pills based on what the pill sales person tells them to. My wife has been to over 50 MD's and they have caused her more diseases from the side effects of the pills they prescribed for one symptom. MD's control the AMA and the FDA and that is why we are such a unhealthy nation.

By anon42941 — On Aug 24, 2009

the DO in my daughter's pediatric office has misdiagnosed my daughter twice. i will only see the MD now.

By anon42808 — On Aug 24, 2009

DO's are similar to chiropractors.

By anon41193 — On Aug 13, 2009

If a student finishes his medical school and is getting ready for residency and fails to pass the tests, what are his options? Could he enter a DO school and not have to go the entire course?

By anon41049 — On Aug 12, 2009

Actually it's a very uneducated opinion that MDs are better than DO's or that MD schools are harder to get in. It's all based on how new the school is, whether it's an MD school or a DO school. New schools in general have a lower standard for the MCAT. You can score lower for newer schools, and it has nothing to do with DO or MD. They're both equally hard to get into nowadays. The D.O. program hasn't been around as long as the MD program which is why people think it's better, which in reality in a few years D.O. doctors are in fact projected to be better than MD doctors being that they look at the entire body with a sickness instead of just that area like MD doctors do and DO doctors learn about the manipulation of the body on top of all the MD stuff so D.O. doctors actually do more than MD doctors and they make the exact same amount of money. Get your facts straight before making random posts about something you don't know. and I know this because I have relatives that are both MDs and DOs both doing equally good.

By anon40920 — On Aug 11, 2009

Do D.O.s and M.D.s make the same amount of money? I mean they are both doctors doing the same work so one would expect they would. Anyone know the answer?

By anon39953 — On Aug 05, 2009

anon30216: D.O. school is medical school. They are called schools/colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, as opposed to schools of Allopathic mecicine (where M.D.'s come from). Both types of physician receive almost exactly the same training these days, the only difference being that D.O.s receive extra training in manipulation of the muskuloskeletal system. There are only about 20 D.O. schools in the U.S. compared to over 120 M.D. schools, but the field is growing. D.O. schools were started in the 19th century by an M.D. who was tired of seeing people poisoned by mercury "medication" among other cutting-edge medications of the time (sound like chemotherapy to anyone?). Since then, modern medications have made all kinds of progress and are now trusted by both philosophies. The only real difference between an M.D. and a D.O. is the basic philosophical foundation of the medical school that they attend.

By anon39593 — On Aug 03, 2009

"Most dos are dos because they couldn't get into medical school"?

Now, osteopathic medicine is not a med school? You are wrong. At the end a DO can get into allopathic residency and become better off than the proud background "md" student. at the end they're both physicians with a different background.

By anon39489 — On Aug 02, 2009

For people who say MD schools are harder to get into then DO programs, if both DO's and MD's do the same thing when they are finished, that says to me that MD schools are setting the bar too high. From my research, the difference I see is that a DO will spend more time with a patient than a MD, and a DO has more knowledge of the whole body. Being a DO was started by a MD over a 100 years ago because he didn't like the way medicine was operating. There are more MD's, but I think the DO is slightly more qualified, or at least in my opinion. If I'm seriously ill, if both people are qualified to address me, I want the person who's going to put more time in.

By anon38463 — On Jul 26, 2009

Yes. MD schools are harder to get into than DO programs, but that has nothing to do with how good a doctor you're going to be. Down the line, it just comes to work ethic. Some people find out after college that they want to go to med school, but can't go erase that college transcript. If you work hard and want to be good, doesn't matter if you're a DO or an MD, you're a physician.

By anon37604 — On Jul 20, 2009

The tone of the article appears to pump up DO's at the expense of MD's...example being MD's "only looking at certain body parts". Fact is, MD schools have stricter entrance requirements as far as grades and entrance exam scores. Compare the average GPA and MCAT of their entering classes...there's no debate. Also, the thing about DO's choosing to specialize in primary care...well, training for advanced specialties (Plastic surgery, neurosurgery, cardiology, etc) are competitive to enter even among physicians! The DO graduates may not be considered qualified to enter these advanced residencies/fellowships by their respective admissions committees. Furthermore, if a DO trains at an MD residency, they will NOT be using their "manipulation" skills that the author seems to take pride in.

By anon36755 — On Jul 14, 2009

Wow! I thought I had found the answer by reading this article but there is a lot of bickering back & forth. I've been seeing my doctor, which is a DO for 6 years. Personally, I love her. My girlfriend, however, thinks she sucks and has been trying to coax me into finding an MD as my primary care. I lke the rapport I have w/my doctor. I have found it to be true that MD's "rush..." but I've also seen MD's that were great, so now I'm really torn. My doctor does tend to recommend I see "specialist" a great deal. (I suffer from High Blood pressure & recently have been told possibly Hypothyroidism)I've been reluctant to switch doctors, but if anyone can give me a little bit better insight between the 2 (DO vs. MD) I'd appreciate it.

By anon35787 — On Jul 07, 2009

Thanks for the explanation. It is in line with my research and helped to clarify the difference in philosophy aside from training. I trust board certification, education and experience more than an MD or DO title. In my experience, any doctor that impresses me is a find, and I strongly suggest *lots* of research before deciding on a doctor.

By anon34904 — On Jun 30, 2009

My experience with MDs has been awful. They rush and don't listen to me.

On the other hand, I have a super DO, who listens and works at treating not just the main complaint, but my entire body. Yes, results are slower and I get impatient, but I feel overall healthier and happier. If you have a need to be listened to and heard...DO. If you just want pills and be rushed through and talked down to...MD.

By anon34604 — On Jun 25, 2009

Posted by: anon30216-apparently this comment is very uneducated in the world of DO and MD.

It is just as difficult to get the DO degree as an MD. Please understand the hard work for both before posting "guesses".

By anon34552 — On Jun 24, 2009

anon32114 - unfortunately, anon30216 is correct in the fact that it is more difficult to get into a medical schools' MD program than DO program. please research several well-known schools (grab the top 10 in the US News rankings, for instance). you will see that the statement is, in fact, true.

personally, as a patient, i have found it easier to work with an MD when my problem is more clear - symptom relief comes quicker. However, I have witnessed others who do well with DOs when their symptoms do not clearly point to a cause.

By anon32114 — On May 16, 2009

an30216 Your comments are not true. Both go through the same type of medical training. DOs often do their residencies or internships in the same locations as MDs. They both have rigorous state certifications. The main difference is in their philosophy of treatment and how to treat individuals.

By anon30624 — On Apr 21, 2009

I actually thought this answer was very informative and unbiased. It didn't favor either one, leaving it to the patient to decide. In fact, it helped me decide between an MD and a DO (which I had never heard of, by the way) based on what I am most comfortable with.

By anon30216 — On Apr 15, 2009

Why do you make it sound like a D.O. is better than an M.D.? M.D.'s are superior to D.O.'s. It is harder to get into M.D. school and M.D.'s are trained in every aspect of medical care. D.O.'s are fine but definitely not better to M.D.'s. In fact, most D.O.'s are D.O.'s because they couldn't get into medical school.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia...
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