Story and photo by Kerry Phelps Dale
If Dr. Dougherty looks familiar but you haven’t had an appendectomy or gall bladder surgery performed at Fauquier Hospital or Heathcote Hospital, you might know her as Cindy Thompson.
As a general surgeon, Cindy performs appendectomies, operates on hernias, gall bladders, hemorrhoids, and performs breast cancer surgeries. The doctor estimates she performs between 5-10 operations a week on average, but her caseload goes up and down.
This doctor chose a surgical practice for several reasons. “Surgery is an art as well as a science. It allows me to satisfy my artistic side by using my hands,” said Cindy who studied art in college. “I also like the puzzle and figuring out what’s wrong with people,” she adds. “Then, you get to fix it. My personality is such that I like to fix things. I like the more immediate results of surgery.”
Straight from the operating room in Warrenton and still dressed in scrubs, Cindy bustled into Another Blue Moon in Middleburg on a mission one day recently. She held up two of her surgical tools, an Allis clamp and a Senn retractor, and headed to a friend’s car where the ignition key had become lodged in the sliver of space where the seatbelt fastens. The friend couldn’t retrieve it. The dealership said they couldn’t recover it. But the surgeon felt certain, she could rescue the key.
After a few minutes, lit by a cellphone held by her assisting “nurse”, Cindy pulled out the key and held it up proudly in the clutch of the Allis clamp, as she might hold up a foreign object retrieved from a patient. Then, she delivered the news and the key. “The operation was a success,” she announced.
More than a pastime, and most certainly a passion, Cindy has an affinity for auctions, flea markets and second-hand stores, like the pop-up consignment shop in Middleburg where she is a partner. On Saturdays, she can be found running the Trinity Church Thrift Shop. Once a month, she heads to Headley’s Auction in Berryville to find furniture, jewelry, artwork and silver for resale.
With a loop to her eye, the antique collector and trader discussed the mystery hidden on the handle of one of her antique sterling spoons last month. With the attention of a surgeon sewing up the patient, she stared.
“See this on the handle?” Faint from the passing of centuries, one could just make out the date 1760 stamped on the piece. “The owner of the spoon was right-handed, see how the left side is more worn?” She demonstrated the American way of scooping soup from a bowl—she loves the details.
Cindy hails from Ohio, born and raised, and graduated from Miami University before attending Medical College of Ohio. A Virginia resident since 1997, she lives on the outskirts of Middleburg with her husband and children. Upon retirement, she is considering opening a permanent shop like the one where she spends her spare time.
Always smiling, finding joy in most everything, this busy woman lives in that sweet spot between being a serious medical surgeon, a purveyor of antiques and collectibles and a lover of life, family and friends.
This article first appeared in the March 2019 issue of Middleburg Life.