Andrew Wherley, MD
When Andrew Wherley, MD graduated from the OSU ophthalmology residency program in 1998, he knew that he had some large shoes to fill. His father Benjamin, another OSU ophthalmology alumni, and his grand- father Harold, an Eye, Ear, Nose, and Throat (EENT) specialist, were both legends in the small town of Dover, Ohio where he grew up. Thankfully, his training at OSU had readied him for the challenge.
“I feel the training I received at OSU was excellent and prepared me well for my practice, said Andrew. “I had, and continue to have, the utmost respect for the attending physicians who gave of their time to train me and my fellow residents.”
Harold Wherley, MD was trained in Buffalo, NY, back before ophthalmology and otolaryngology were separate specialties. When he completed his EENT training he returned to his hometown of Coshocton, Ohio to start his practice. Two years later, he was called to duty for WW2 and spent some time in England at an Allied military base. With the war at an end, he returned to Ohio. In 1951, he built the office building where he, his
Benjamin Wherley, MD studied at Heidelberg University in Tiffin, OH and completed his medical degree at Buffalo State University of New York. He then came to Ohio State for his ophthalmology residency.
“My training at Ohio State was absolutely wonderful," said Benjamin. "I was very fortunate to get a residency position there.”
Benjamin graduated from the OSU Ophthalmology Residency program in 1968, and like his father before him, served in the Army for several years before joining his father’s practice in Dover. He took over the ophthalmology side of the practice so Dr. Harold Wherley could focus on ENT.
Between 1970 and 1980, Dr. Benjamin Wherley was the only ophthalmologist for Tuscarawas County with a population of 90,000. He was very available to his patients. Before OSHA had a lot of safety regulations, patients would call routinely with foreign bodies in their eyes. He would get a call from a nearby factory and would put clothes on over his pajamas and meet them at his front door.
“He had a slit lamp built into a closet in the living room,” said Andrew. “Patients would come over and he would treat them right there in the living room.”
Andrew Wherley, MD went to college with an interest in soil and water conservation. After a couple of years, he decided that he had a different calling: to help people.
“I went to med school thinking I would be a small town family doctor,” said Andrew. “During years when you rotate through the different clinical areas, I started with Psychiatry, General Surgery, and Pediatrics. None of them quite fit and by this time my wife was pretty worried.”
It was then that Andrew completed an ophthalmology elective and knew instantly that was where he wanted to be.
"When he said he wanted to go into Ophthalmology," said Benjamin, "I told him that was terrific, and when he said he was going to do it at Ohio State, I was thrilled."
“I was drawn towards medicine by seeing how patients appreciated my dad and how he made a difference in their lives,” said Andrew.
Andrew frequently hears stories from his dad's patients who traveled to Cleveland or as far as Chicago to see an ophthalmologist. They would be asked 'Why are you here when you have the best ophthalmologist around right in your hometown?'”
"Patients still tell me how much they love my Dad," said Andrew. "I know I’ll never live up to his legacy. Of course, that’s what my Dad would say about his father as well."
What does his dad think?
"Well, when Andy came into town, I thought, ‘What am I doing here?'" said Benjamin. "He’s smarter than I am. He’s a better surgeon than I am. And from the feedback I get from everyone, I know they just love him. I couldn't be more proud."