Stupid Question about Doctors

This really will be kind of silly but I always wanted to know this;

How much would an Eye Doctor know about your heart?

How much would a pediatrician know about an old person?

Would a dentist know about your eyes?

Would a foot doctor know anything about my brain?

and so on and so on…

Anyway not exactly like that but I’m just trying to ask, if all doctors have a knowledge of every part of the body and to what extent?

If I get one good answer I will be :smiley: .


Well, all medical doctors go through a lot of med school before starting to concentrate on a specialty. So, even though a pediatrician wouldn’t make a habit of treating, say, back pain in an adult, if it was a family member or friend they were doing a favor for, they certainly would be capapble of diagnosing and treating. Then, I would imagine, if the treatment they suggest isn’t working, they would send you to a specialist.

IOW, it would be like going to a general practitioner for a serious ear ache. The GP could diagnose and treat, and then send you to an otolaryngologist if things get worse.

An actual doctor will probably be along to give you a real answer, but I can tell you that doctors all go through the same basic first four years of school, and so all share the same basic knowledge.

There’s a different set of schooling for dentistry, though, so I wouldn’t expect a dentist to know much practical beyond the scope of his or her career as a matter of course.

As far as foot doctors, there are doctors who specialise in feet, but aren’t there also ‘foot doctors’ who don’t actually have MDs? I seem to recall some bru-ha-ha about this a few years back.

Of course you’re correct about this, but I forgot to mention it.

I don’t recall anything about this, but might there not be something along the lines of physical therapists that specialize in feet, as opposed to Doctors of Podiatry?

I would NOT want to ask a doctor who has been specialising in something for over 20 years about the latest advances in any other field.

They’ll remember what they were taught in college, and what they did during their internships and residency, they WON’T have kept up to date with everything else going on in medicine unless it affects them in some way.

Your gynaecologist will not necessarily have any idea what the latest therapy for bunions is, or how they’re doing face-lifts these days.

Big simple things that haven’t changed much in the last 20 years, fine. Specific answers requiring up to the minute specialist knowledge, not so much.

Podiatrists aren’t MDs, IIRC, but I probably read it here. So how much general medical training (and how much training period) does a podiatrist have? How 'bout a dentist?

Well, I don’t know how much schoolin’ someone has to have to advertise as a “podiatrist”, but I do know that in order to use the letters “DPM” after their name, they must be a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine. This means they’ve completed adequate education to, One, prescribe medication, and, Two, perform surger. Same thing with dentists and the “DDS” letters. They have adequate medical school to perform dental surgery and write 'scrips. This of course does not necessarily mean they’ve had the same amount of medical training that a general practitioner does.

This thread has some discussion on the topic.

A podiatrist has a 4-year medical degree, the Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree. The first two years (aka basic science) generally match the first two years of an allopathic (MD) medical school. The differences are that podiatrists do not do psychiatry and pediatrics, adding instead podopediatrics, podiatric medicine, and lower limb anatomy. They do the same general anatomy course as an allopathic school, so they have the same general anatomic knowledge you’d expect of, say, an FP. My wife’s general anatomy class was actually taught by an adjunct faculty that primarily taught at the Case Western Medical School.

The major differences between the two courses of study are in the later two years, in the rotations and externships.