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Jack & Candace Hendershot


Jack & Candace Hendershot 

Seldom has the phrase “Like father, like son” been more true than for Jack Hendershot, MD and Andrew Hendershot, MD. Both are practicing ophthalmologists, both attended medical school at The Ohio State University, both completed residencies at the Havener Eye Institute, both started their residencies in brand new buildings, both were selected as chief Resident in their final year, and both are beloved by their patients. Despite their similar results, their stories could not be more different.

Jack grew up in North Canton, Ohio. His father was an extremely, busy family practice doctor. Jack remembers many vacations that were cut short because a patient went into labor and his father needed to be back for the delivery. He was not sure that medicine was the life for him, but
his father took him aside and asked him, “How are you going to help people? You should be a doctor.” He did want to help people, so he followed his father’s advice.

After attending Capital University, he enrolled in the first three-year Medical School program ever offered at Ohio State. There were no vacations, or breaks for 36 months, but Jack managed to graduate with honors and even won the Eli. G. Alcorn prize in ophthalmology.

When it came to deciding his specialty, he said to himself, “They gave me this award and well, if the Department thinks I’m good and I like it, I guess I’ll do ophthalmology.”

This was in the beginning of microsurgery and implants, so it was a very exciting time with new technology and new techniques. Because of his training, he was able to bring the latest advances to the private practice that he started in Findlay, Ohio. His relationship with Ohio State helped him to maintain that technologic edge, during his 32 years.

“My career has been very rewarding and very challenging because of all of the things that I’ve seen change over the years. I feel blessed to have had a career that I like, that I’m good at, and it has been unbelievably satisfying.”

Growing up in Findlay, Ohio, Andy saw first-hand the impact that his dad made in the community. It was not uncommon that a patient would approach them when they were in town and say, “Andy, your dad saved my eye.” or “Your dad made it so I could see again.”

There was never any pressure for Andy to become a doctor. He made the decision for himself, even shadowing several physicians while still in high school to be sure. The real challenge came when deciding in which area to specialize. Residencies are so competitive; candidates usually have to start doing research before they start medical school.

“A lot has changed,” said Andy, “from when my dad was studying ophthalmol- ogy. He applied to one medical school and they offered him a position right there. I don’t know how many medical schools I applied to, but I interviewed all over the country. For residency, he applied to one program and they asked him if he wanted to stay and he said ‘Yeah.’ And that was it. Now, it is so tightly regulated. We have to rank. His journey was very different from mine.”

Andy had rotated through Ophthalmology, but had not been overly impressive. He decided to go into General Surgery instead. A few months into his internship he realized that he had made a mistake. The hours were intense and it lacked the personal satisfaction for which he had hoped.

He applied to ophthalmology mid-year, knowing that he would fall behind by a year as the residency positions were undoubtedly filled. Luckily, one of the current ophthalmology residents also decided to pursue a different residency and he was able to take her spot. After his residency and an anterior segment fellowship, he joined the faculty. Now, he feels like he has made the right decision and so does his dad.

“I hear from people all the time saying ‘He’s doing a great job. He’s good with patients. He’s very good surgically,’ said Jack. “I couldn’t be more proud.”