Featured Surgeon: Cynthia Herrington

Cynthia Herrington, MD

“Most days I roll out of bed and think that I am the luckiest woman in the world…..and then I remember that luck had very little to do with it.  When I graduated from my congenital fellowship at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles there were very few women specializing in congenital cardiac surgery.  I am so happy this has changed.  The practice of congenital cardiac surgery is extremely rewarding from the procedures, to patient care, to helping the families through the process.  Each patient is unique, and each repair is custom made.  It is very gratifying to be participating in the care of these children.

At a recent dinner Dr Starnes introduced me to a colleague as not only a busy cardiac surgeon but as a single mom.   I paused.  This was the first time I ever considered myself a single mom.   It is true.  I repair baby hearts during the day and change diapers at night.  This is the BEST of the best.   My daughters have brought my world into laser focus, and I am actually more productive now than I was before Olivia and Emma. I would change nothing.

For young surgeons and those of you in training I would tell you this:  balance is a verb not a noun.  For our profession, it is not like the scales of justice where each plate must be near equal to have balance.  It is more like the pole a tightrope walker would use.  It is a constant motion and reaction to outside forces that keeps you up on the wire.   The pole continually makes small adjustments to keep you balanced.  This month your definition of balance may be 30/70 and next month it may be 60/40. What matters is how you define balance not how the world defines it.”

WTS is thrilled to feature Dr. Cindy Herrington, a congenital cardiac surgeon at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, where she holds the title of Associate Professor of Surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. She is also Program Director for the Congenital Cardiac Surgery Fellowship and Surgical Director of the Heart Transplant Program.

Dr. Herrington was nominated by Dr. Jessica Donington, who shares the following laudatory remarks:

“Cindy is a force of nature. Clinically, she is an incredible busy congenital heart surgeon at LA Children’s, and she participates actively in the TSDA and in the organization of congenital match. She is dynamic, warm, and approachable. She just adopted her second child and she is a prime example that you can do it all, and you can do it with style. The fellows who train under her think she amazing. I think she is a tremendous role model.”

Dr. Herrington operating

Emma and Dr. Herrington

Emma and Olivia Herrington

Dr Herrington on the ward