I. Introduction of the D.O.
Currently there are two main types of licensed physicians in the United States. The first is the medical doctor or the allopathic doctor. About 95% of licensed doctors have been educated at one of over 120 allopathic medical schools and have thus obtained a medical doctor degree (M.D.). The second type of doctor, the doctor of osteopathy, is less common. Osteopathic doctors make up about five percent of the physicians in the nation (Peters 730). Although this represents a significant amount of physicians many people are unfamiliar with the second type of doctor. In a 1981 the AOA (American Osteopathic Association) released the results of a survey about public familiarity with the osteopathic doctor. Only 20% of the 1,003 individuals surveyed, age eighteen and over, were familiar with the D.O. (doctor of osteopathy) abbreviation. Furthermore only 50% of those that were familiar with the title could correctly give the unabbreviated version (Gevitz 154-55).
The results of this survey are to a certain extent outdated, but an overall atmosphere of unfamiliarity still looms about the doctor of osteopathy. The following discussion will attempt to clarify this modern enigma. A brief history of the much-maligned doctor of osteopathy will be provided along with a contemporary description of the doctor's focuses and responsibilities. Given the current situation of health care costs the legitimacy of the D.O. will be discussed as well as the capability to contest these rising costs intrinsically possessed by this form of doctor. Finally, the integration of D.O. and M.D. treatments will be discussed. Through subsequent arguments the reader will learn t...
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