Author: Mackenzie Heidkamp
When it was announced that President Trump contracted COVID-19, many people became enraged. Some people argued that the President’s resistance to wear a mask, which caused him to test positive for COVID-19, was a poor example to set for the country. People were also upset with the situation because, as the President, he was being treated with the finest healthcare in the world, which highlighted inequalities in differing social classes. This frustration and anger made people attack individuals closely associated with Trump and his case. More specifically, people targeted Trump’s lead doctor, Sean P. Conley, D.O. One example was when MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell tweeted, “How many times will Trump’s doctor, who is actually not a M.D., have to change his statements" (KHN). This attack at Trump’s doctor actually attacks all D.O.’s because it implies that only M.D.’s can be doctors, which is far from the truth.
D.O. is short for a doctor of osteopathic medicine. These doctors are more concerned with looking at the patient holistically. Basically, they try and treat patients by looking at their total picture of health and are less focused on simply masking symptoms. They are also very involved with preventive care where they recommend diets or different lifestyles that will benefit the patient in the long run (PCOM). On the other hand, M.D.’s are more known for strictly looking at the presenting symptoms to prescribe medication without necessarily looking beyond that. Even though their approach on health care differs, D.O.'s and M.D.’s have similar training periods. They both take the MCAT, they both go to a four year medical school, and they are both doctors (AMA). Therefore, the notion that a D.O. is less of a doctor than an M.D. is dangerous.
Here is a chart to help further compare the similarities and differences between a D.O. and a M.D.