James D. McAndrew, MD

Contact Information
700 Olympic Plaza, Suite 700
Tyler, Texas 75701

Office Phone: (903) 262-3900
Fax: (903) 262-3993
Email: info@urologytyler.com

What made you want to become a Urologist?
This is the question that I’m asked most often by my patients.  It’s a bit of a long and convoluted story.  There are no other doctors in my family but we have plenty of engineers.  My dad is a chemical engineer, my brother is a mechanical engineer, and my uncle is a civil and structural engineer.  So naturally I set out to be an engineer. I enjoyed all types of science in high school, so after graduating from Clear Lake High School in Houston in 1979, I enrolled at Texas A&M University to study chemical engineering.

In the summer between semesters, I worked at a pool as a lifeguard.  One day I was up in the stand and a 10-year-old boy fell off the high board ladder and landed flat on his back on the concrete pool deck. We had a little bit of first-aid training with our lifeguard training, but all I knew about falls was to keep them still until an ambulance arrived.  The child ended up okay but it started me thinking that I could use some more first-aid training.  At Texas A&M, I enrolled in the first aid and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) courses.  I became an EMT and joined the student-run ambulance service.  I discovered I really enjoyed taking care of patients.  So this is where my checkered past comes into play. I transferred from Texas A&M to the University of Texas at Austin (cut one arm I bleed maroon, cut the other I bleed burnt orange) and changed my major to Biology (Pre-Med). I graduated from UT and went to medical school at UT Southwestern Medical School in Dallas.  During medical school we rotated through many different specialties and I thought I wanted to go into surgery.

I finished medical school and started my training in general surgery at UT Houston Medical School.  In our first year of training, called our internship, we rotate through the surgical sub-specialties.  For the first time I did a urology rotation.   One of my senior residents was a chemical engineer before he went to medical school.  He told me, “You are going to love urology- it’s like chemical engineering- it deals with pumps, valves, filters and flow systems.”  He was right, urology just made sense. I switched from general surgery to training in urology, it was the best decision I have ever made.

Urology is a great specialty because we have the opportunity to really help people.  Because of the way the kidneys handle chemicals, we have tests that enable us to very specifically diagnose problems.   We have other tests which help sort different types of bladder and prostate problems. With good tests, we can determine more specific treatment and the results of the treatment are much better. There is very little “exploratory” surgery in urology.

We don’t operate on all our patients. Some patients we help with medication.  We also use physical therapy, biofeedback, radiation therapy and cryotherapy. The variety of treatment options keeps urology interesting and constantly expanding.

And now you know the rest of the story.

My Philosophy of Medicine
First and foremost, I realize that I am just a tool of the Great Physician, God.  Without His healing intervention everything I do would not work.  Think about it, without His healing I could never use “temporary” or dissolving suture!

I make the cuts but He is responsible for the healing and He should get all the glory.

I also believe that the practice of medicine is a dialogue not a monologue. It is an opportunity to discuss a problem and come up with a mutually agreeable solution.  Part of my role in medicine is to teach about the disease process.  This fits well with my personality as every spiritual gift assessment I have taken puts me in the “teacher” role. I feel that a well informed patient will better understand their condition and has the ability to more accurately describe their symptoms.
I believe that medical choices should be made with the best information possible.  For the most part, we should rely on good, objective, scientific studies and not on someone else’s personal experience or preferences.  However, having said that, I also realize that there is an art to medicine and sometimes we will have to make decisions without the benefit of scientific studies.  I will try to tell you when we are working off the “art of medicine” or the “science of medicine”.  In the practice of medicine we are also treating people, not numbers or statistics.  Allowances must be given because sometimes the best treatment for a disease is not the best treatment for a specific patient (we don’t try to win a battle at the expense of losing the war!).

So, let’s talk.  Let’s see what is going on with you and let’s discuss what we can do about it.

Certification

  • Diplomate, American Board of Urology

Affiliations

  • East Texas Medical Center
  • Trinity Mother Frances Hospital

Began Practicing in Tyler, Texas: 1994

Board Certified: 1996

Place of Birth: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Personal Testimony of My Coming to Know Jesus as my Lord and Savior

This is the story of a miracle.

I grew up in a science-based world. My father was a Chemical Engineer and the world view/philosophy of our family was that everything had a scientific explanation. My favorite subjects in school were math and science.

We didn’t have much use for religion. My father always worked very hard, putting in long hours. But Sunday was his day to sleep in! Because of that, we didn’t go to church.  My mother had gone to church for a while when she was younger. When I was 6, and we had just moved to Texas, my mother did take as to church twice. I remember coloring a picture of the three Wise Men. One summer, my sister and I went to a week long Vacation Bible School with our next-door neighbors. I don’t remember anything about what I heard, but God must have been working on me, as that pretty much summarizes my spiritual background.

Scientific enlightenment still ruled my life. I didn’t go to church, I didn’t have any friends who went to church regularly and I didn’t have a Bible. I think we had a Bible in the house, but it was packed away in a box. I didn’t see a need for Jesus in my life.

So how did Jesus Christ find me?…That is the miracle.

In the late 1970’s there was a TV show called, “In Search of…”, narrated by Leonard Nimoy (AKA Dr Spock). Not someone who I would call a great TV evangelist!

One episode of the show was In Search of Noah’s Ark. I always looked forward to that show, and I knew in my heart that the ending would be clear. Science would prove the Bible to be false, the story was just a fable, didn’t happen, couldn’t have happened.

But to my surprise, the conclusion was just the opposite. After careful research and scientific study it was determined that it was possible, and even probable, the story was true and could have happened exactly as described in the Bible.

Wow! This turned my whole world-view philosophy upside down. If this story was true, what else in the Bible was true- or could it ALL be true? So one day I asked Jesus to come into my life and show me who he was. (I didn’t use words like “Lord” and “Savior” at that time but looking back I know that was the moment I became His). So after I said that prayer you know what happened? NOTHING.  Remember, I didn’t have any Christian friends, didn’t go to church and didn’t have a Bible. I still thought religion was  pretty fake and hypocritical.

BUT GOD, was gradually working on me and protecting me from my own selfish pursuits. He gradually brought people into my life to help me understand the great sacrifice of His son. Through the godly example of my wife, Cynthia, Sunday school and Bible study, I began to understand the role of Jesus Christ as Lord, Savior and protector in my life. His calling me through the use of a secular TV show, my turning to accept him, His putting a hedge of protection around my life until the time was right, and bringing Cynthia into my life are all true miracles.

The journey hasn’t finished yet. He keeps showing me how He is faithful. Just remember: God can find anyone. He can even use Leonard Nimoy to find the boy without a Bible.