Osteopathic approach to patient care gains favor

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By Shari Rudavsky

A few years ago, when Nikki Abshier was looking for a physician, she didn’t notice that her new doctor had the letters D.O. (doctor of osteopathic medicine) after her name instead of M.D. (medical doctor).

Nor did she notice that the pediatrician she chose for her newborn daughter a few months ago was also trained as an osteopathic physician. All Abshier knows is that both doctors provide excellent care.

In the future, more Indiana residents may find themselves choosing osteopathic physicians. Last month, Marian University announced plans to open an osteopathic medical school, a move that would increase the number of osteopathic physicians practicing here.

But like Abshier, many people are not aware of the distinctions between osteopathic and allopathic — or traditionally — trained doctors. To a large degree, the differences are minor, more an artifact of history than current practice. Many D.O.s complete internships and residencies alongside M.D.s. Both can be fully licensed to practice medicine and surgery in all 50 states.

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