Last week, when President Trump reported his COVID-19 diagnosis and was subsequently hospitalized, White House Physician and Navy veteran Sean Conley, DO, (who is residency-trained in Emergency Medicine) provided the press with updates on the president’s illness and treatment. The ensuing media spotlight on Dr. Conley resulted in unfortunate mischaracterizations of DOs that appeared, among other outlets, on CNN and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show.

Maddow questioned why President Trump’s care is overseen by an “osteopath” rather than an infectious disease specialist or an internist. CNN pundit Gloria Borger implied that, as an “osteopath,” Dr. Conley is not an “actual doctor.”

Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine, or DOs, are fully licensed physicians in all 50 states who practice in all areas. Emphasizing a whole-person approach to treatment and care, DOs are trained to listen and partner with their patients to help them get healthy and stay well. Our medical school training is four years, similar to allopathic (MD) schools, and the courses are often taught by the same professors .

While primary care remains a strong focus for the osteopathic profession, DOs practice in all medical specialties and serve in the military and public health services. Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital has many DOs on its medical staff.

— Thomas Bozzuto, DO


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