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James Andrew, MD


James Andrew, MD 
New Resident Surgical Skills Lab
Fund #313753

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We are proud to announce the dedication of the James M. Andrew, MD Resident Surgical Skills Lab.  This is the first space in the new Eye and Ear Institute to be named. 

Dr. Andrew was an OSU Ophthalmology community faculty member and benefactor for over 30 years. His family is proud to support the naming including his son Mark, who lives in Granville, son Blair, who lives in Baltimore, Maryland, son Craig and daughter Peggy Bellows, who both live in Columbus. 

Dr. Andrew graduated from Dartmouth and received his medical degree at the Long Island School of Medicine.  He completed his residency at Kresge Eye Institute in Detroit and afterwards, was stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

In 1951, he arrived in Columbus and took over a practice on State Street.  He had many partners over the years including OSU alumni Bob O’Dair, Sandy Farber, and Jack Dingle. 

“Jim was an all-round great ophthalmologist,” said Dr. Dingle.  “We practiced together for 12 years.  He was a very energetic, dynamic person who was just a lot of fun to be around.”

Dr. Andrew trained many ophthalmology residents throughout his career.  Most Monday nights, he would open his home to the ophthalmology residents so they could watch slide shows and 16mm film of surgeries and eyes disorders.

“He had a passion for education and really enjoyed training residents,” said Peggy. 

In the early 50s, when he began his practice, cataract surgery patients would have the natural lens inside their eye removed after which they would have to wear very thick glasses.  Dr. Andrew was one of the first ophthalmologists in the community to use artificial lens implants after cataract removal.

“In those days, cataract patients had to be hospitalized and Dad always sent them a get-well bouquet,” said Peggy.  “I remember that the little old ladies would get so excited when the flowers would come because now they could see them.”    
In the 1960s, Dr. Andrew joined a group of ophthalmologists who constructed a building on East Town Street that was conducive to practicing ophthalmology.

At that time, laser treatment for diabetic retinopathy was in its infancy and Dr. Andrew had a patient, the wife of a Nationwide Insurance executive, who was losing her sight due to diabetes.  Dr. Christian Zweng of Stanford University, a classmate and friend of Dr. Andrew, was a pioneer for laser treatment for diabetes and was using a new technique utilizing an Argon laser.  He invited Dr. Andrew and Dr. Frederick Davidorf, an OSU retina specialist, to observe the treatment firsthand.

A trip to California was no easy task in 1970, but Dr. Andrew, Dr. Davidorf, the patient, and her husband made the 2500 mile trip in a prop plane.  They observed the new procedure and brought knowledge of the technique back to Ohio.  No one in Ohio had an Argon laser because of the cost, but Dr. Andrew and Dr. Davidorf were able to convince the patient's husband to donate the first argon laser in Ohio to OSU.

Dr. Andrew never got the chance to retire.  His life was cut short at age 66.  In 1987, while making an ophthalmic presentation in South Africa, he experienced chest pains and had to be hospitalized.  During his hospital stay, they found that he had pericardial fluid around his heart which they later analyzed and found cancer cells. He lived ten more months, but finally succumbed to his illness in July of 1988.

“I remember Jim as a long-time ophthalmologist, resident teacher, and outdoorsman,” said Dr. Davidorf, a former student and colleague. “But most of all, I remember him as an innovative surgeon which makes naming the surgical skills lab in his honor so appropriate.”