Because I am in PM&R, people often ask me if I am an MD or a DO. For the record, I am an MD. But I do have equal respect for DOs.
Before I went to med school, I actually didn't even know what a DO (Doctor of Osteopathy) was. According to Wikipedia (the source of all information on this planet):
Osteopathy and osteopathic medicine are terms often used interchangeably for the philosophy and system of alternative medical practice first proposed by A. T. Still MD in 1874. Its practitioners are known as osteopaths. It emphasizes the interrelationship between structure and function of the body and recognizes the body's ability to heal itself; it is the role of the osteopathic practitioner to facilitate that process.
You can't see me right now, but I'm making the little jerk off motion.
Do I think osteopathic medicine is a little bullshit? Uh, yeah. So do most DOs. Most of them will admit to you they think it's bullshit. On my peds rotation in med school, most of the residents were DOs, and I remember there was some patient who was having a pain issue, and the chief (a DO) joked, "Hey, maybe we should do an osteopathic manipulation on him?" And everybody laughed and laughed.
Let's face it, most of the people who go to DO school do it because they don't have the grades for an MD school.
That said, I think many DOs are fantastic doctors, perhaps because your abilities in organic chemistry don't actually predict what kind of doctor you'll be. In general, I've found DOs to have a great bedside manner. And in my field, I think they come to residency with better physical exam skills. Some of the best doctors I've known have been DOs.
Because of the strong physical component to PM&R, people will ask on SDN if they should get an MD or DO. The answer is, if you can, get an MD. Unfortunately, DO discrimination is rampant and will close a lot of doors for you. For example, my own mother refuses to see a DO, even though I tell her they're just as good as MDs.
I remember in my PGY4 year, I worked with a med student who was really amazing. She was the best student I had worked with. She was enthusiastic but not overly so, had a great personality, was intelligent and willing to learn, and she spent her weekend helping us work a race. I wrote an email to the program director telling him how fantastic she was in order to make sure she got ranked highly.
I think she ended up getting ranked third or fourth on our list. As a result, I got to witness a tantrum by an attending (who who worked with her and knew she was awesome), saying, "How could a DO be so high on the rank list?? I know she's good, but she's a DO!"
By writing this, I suppose I'm putting myself at risk for some wrathful comments from DOs. But if you read the entire post and not just react to a single sentence, you should realize that I have tremendous respect for DOs. And if you're in the field, I'm sure you know it can be an uphill battle. (The same could be said of my specialty, so I can certainly relate.)