Sunday, March 18, 2012

It’s not about the “M.D.” anymore

Everyone knows what M.D. stands for.  When I was growing up I loved watching a T.V. show about a child genius – The show was called “Doogie Howser, M.D.

Then in medical school I watched another popular medical show called “House M.D.

If you’re going to include the initials – they’re going to be M.D.  That’s a doctor, that’s a physician…right? 

Not quite 

In the late 1800’s one doctor decided there was more to medicine than what he was taught as an M.D.   So he started a new type of medicine, Osteopathic Medicine.  In 1892 he opened the first “School of Osteopathic Medicine.” 

Over the next century there would be many political and professional disputes, but the result today is that one quarter of all Medical School graduates in the U.S. is NOT an M.D., but rather a D.O.

You have likely been to see one, and never knew the difference.  Just like most people have no idea if their dentist is a DDS or a DMD, the same thing is happening in the world of medicine.  

Yes – they are surgeons, pediatricians, dermatologists, and every other medical specialty.  To most people – they are indistinguishable from their M.D. counterparts. 

The ratio of M.D. to D.O. is changing, and it’s changing fast.
 In 2008, 20% of all US graduates were D.O.’s 
In 2011, it was up to 24% of all graduates.  And the enrollment numbers tell us that the trend won’t stop anytime soon.  
In 2011, 30% of all first year medical students were D.O.’s 

The world of medicine is changing.  I am waiting for the day my grandkids call me into the room to watch a new television show, and it’s entitled something like “Doogie Howser, D.O.”


Brian Wilcox said...

I didn't know what Osteopathic Medicine was so... GOOGLE! gave me this:

"DOs are trained to look at the whole person from their first days of medical school, which means they see each person as more than just a collection of organ systems and body parts that may become injured or diseased. This holistic approach to patient care means that osteopathic medical students learn how to integrate the patient into the health care process as a partner. They are trained to communicate with people from diverse backgrounds, and they get the opportunity to practice these skills in their classrooms and learning laboratories, frequently with standardized and simulated patients."

More and more often I am convinced you and I are in the same field. I specialize in servers, you specialize in neuroathletics. When I am reviewing a particular issue, whether it is a printer that doesn't work right or a complaint from a user about a particular system, it's extremely important to consider the entire situation. What exactly is the person doing that causes the problem and how does that interact with the system? If I create a simple solution for that user that is the easy answer, is it really solving the actual problem or is it simply masking the causes?

The other day I was working on one particularly persnickety issue where a user could not connect to any of her network resources but she was still able to access the internet. That seems to be completely contradictory as one entirely depends on the other. I asked others to inspect the issue and they also were stumped. It wasn't until I checked the places in her system that, "No one should ever change because it's stupid and breaks things" that I discovered another technician, under a time crunch and a brooding user staring over his shoulder, had put pointers into her system that eventually caused a cascading failure. Once corrected all was well.

Analogous to an MD or DO: (From Menolly reading over my shoulder)

Patient - "Dr. My toe hurts."
Doctor - "Well, there must be something wrong with your toe, we should remove it."


Patient - "Dr. My toe hurts."
Doctor - "We ran some tests and it turns out your heart is tired of pumping cholesterol laden blood into your extremities. Go outside more often and change your diet. You'll be fine."

I guess what I'm really trying to say is whether your an MD or DO, you need to consider the entire sympathetic system. All parts of an individual can have an affect on the other systems. There is an easy answer, "Here take this and call me in the morning." And there is a right answer, "Your body isn't under warranty. Do try to take care of it better."

Now you can't always solve everything with hippy voodoo medicine. Sometimes you have to use electroshock and lithium so you can format and reinstall.

Simple Citizen said...

What do you mean I can't solve everything with "Hippy VooDoo Medicine?"

You mean I'm actually supposed to READ those gargantuan medical text books and do some real research?

You're such a killjoy.