Saturday, February 16, 2008

Dear Anonymous

I've had four, count them, FOUR anonymous responses to a post I had written called D.O. vs M.D.. Why it took people this long to start responding, I don't know. I wrote the post on March 1 of 2007. Whatever the reason, it has sparked some good discussion. Maybe people will respond to this post by 2009! We'll see!

To anonymous person #1 who decided to respond by writing up a bunch of statistics: I'm not sure what your point was. You've used statistics from a medical journal that is 2 years order to point out that D.O.'s make up only 6% of the total population of doctors. And??? I mean, maybe you were saying that D.O.'s were few and far between...and that is the reason people have a tough time finding one even if they are looking. Or it may have been a snide way of pointing out that there are a ton more M.D.'s, therefore, making M.D.'s better. I'm not sure. But, again, I'm not sure what your point was.

To anonymous person #2 who responded to the above mentioned comment: It is completely true that there are fewer D.O.'s in general. (I don't know what the above person was trying to point out!) However, I would like to respond to your comment that "M.D.s do their clinical rotations in a teaching hospital affiliated with their medical school, while D.O.s do their clinical rotations in community hospitals and local doctor's offices." This isn't actually true. Some D.O. schools have affiliated hospitals for students, some do not. My school, Des Moines University in Iowa, does not. Therefore, we do rotations at other hospitals. I guess it just depends where you go to school. I'm not really sure where you pulled that information from, though.

To anonymous person #3 who responded to the above mentioned comment: You said the same as me. Or, shall I say, I said the same as you. Well done! Doing well on your COMLEX or USMLE is important, as is doing well on rotations.

To anonymous person #4 who, to be honest, ticked me off: Congratulations on getting into medical school. That is a major achievement! (I promise, I'm being genuine.) Whether you were in the M.D. program (as you mentioned) or a D.O. program, you have worked hard to get to this point. You had to have done well on the MCAT and I'm sure you'll do well on your boards.

Thank you for prefacing your comment with "I don't know much about D.O.s." That, in fact, was why I wrote the post in the first place.

You were offended by my comment that D.O.s treat the patient and not just the symptom. But, I was not meaning that M.D.s thought differently. In fact, I led out my entire post that it is dumb to think one is better than the other. I don't think I'm better because I'm a D.O. I don't think I'm better, period. I just think I have one other thing in my "pocket", so to say, that an M.D. doesn't. I don't use OMT (osteopathic manipulative treatment) very often. In fact, I use it rarely. However, there have been those occasional patients, coming in complaining of low back pain, that I have been able to fix. The hands of a 3rd year medical student have fixed the problem, not the numerous shots of steroids they have received in the past. Actually, I use my OMT skills more on the M.D.s I am learning from, than I do on patients. Mostly because 1) they are curious 2) their necks, shoulders, backs, etc hurt 3) they want to see if I really can "pop their neck" in the exact place it has been bothering them for the past 2 weeks. (And, YES I CAN!)

You wondered when we were trained in OMM (osteopathic manipulative medicine) if we are taking the same curriculum as you. Well, we do the same as you....2 years of didactics/patient encounters....and the following 2 years doing rotations in hospitals/clinics. But our schools shove the OMM into the first 2 years. So, we're taking all the basic sciences and systems courses, but ALSO taking OMM. We typically had one or two lectures a week...followed by a one and half hour lab based on that lecture. Therefore, anywhere from 3-5 hours per week, for two years, of OMM. Not a whole lot more time commitment each week (because I can manage lab the day before a test), but a TON of information learned over the course of 2 years.

I do find it funny that you asked that question in this way: "What is your schedule? Is it the same as medical schools..." Which implies to me that D.O.s weren't really in medical school. Maybe that was just a mistake....but maybe it wasn't. When my brother-in-law mentioned to his M.D. friends that I was going to a D.O. school, their response was, "Oh, so she's not in medical school." Hmmmm..... YES. I'm in medical school. Ask all my friends at Panera - they see me studying and working my buns off. We, as D.O.s are working VERY HARD in MEDICAL SCHOOL.

Also, you mentioned that 3x as many D.O.s failed the USMLE compared to M.D.s. First of all, the USMLE isn't our board exam....we take the COMLEX. And just as M.D.s would have a tough time with all the OMM on our exam, we would have a tough time with the M.D. exam. Sure, we learn the same information.....but we are taught to look at things a little bit differently. I'd like to know where you got that statistic though.....I'd be interested to see that. Actually, I'd be more interested to see how the M.D.s would do on our exam. I'd bet you'd find 3x as many M.D.s failing the COMLEX vs D.O.s. Not because you are less educated....but because you have learned differently. But, that will never happen. M.D.s have never been made to take the COMLEX..... Hmmmm.

Finally, you said that the D.O. entering MCAT score was 26 while the score for M.D.s was 31. I can't speak for all schools, I can only speak to the program I am in at DMU. As a student interviewer for 2 years, we saw MANY excellent candidates come through the doors. MCAT scores ranged anywhere from 23 - 42 while I was interviewing. Probably similar ranges to M.D. schools. The 23 might be a little lower....but, still similar. Anyways, I remember one day interviewing this guy who scored A+ all the way through college and had a 42 on his MCAT. Sounded like a good guy on paper. But talking to him? The guy was looney! He had no character to him. He had no spark. In fact, he was outright weird. He couldn't communicate with the interviewing panel and only had one-word answers. Needless to say, we all rejected him. He did not come to our school.

At DMU, I always thought we did a good job admitting good people...not just how they looked on paper....but how they were in person. If this meant they had an MCAT score that was a couple points lower, who cares??? My class still had a 96% pass rate on the first attempt of boards. Must have chosen good candidates........

You're right to say that D.O.s have an uphill battle. That's because there are so few of us!!! (Please refer back to my response to anonymous person #1).

Man, what good conversation!

1 comment:

All Things Considered said...

Wow Girl! Good job! Very well done and very well handled! I do hope that the folks who did not identify themselves read this before 2009!
Thanks for going so deep and sharing a lot about DMU