Archive for Thursday, May 31, 2007

Longtime surgeon leaving LMH to focus on breast care at KUMC

May 31, 2007


One of the city's top surgeons is stepping down today after 20 years in Lawrence.

Just minutes after leaving an operating room at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, Marilee McGinness takes a call on her cell phone. McGinness, a surgeon at LMH, is leaving the hospital to join the staff at Kansas University Medical Center.

Just minutes after leaving an operating room at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, Marilee McGinness takes a call on her cell phone. McGinness, a surgeon at LMH, is leaving the hospital to join the staff at Kansas University Medical Center.

Marilee McGinness, of Lawrence Surgery Associates, will begin her new job Aug. 6 at Kansas University Medical Center as clinical assistant professor of breast surgery.

She said the decision to leave wasn't easy, but felt the new position would allow her to focus on breast care, which she now devotes about 80 percent of her time to.

It also will allow her to do some research and help train medical residents.

"It came down to the opportunity there," McGinness said. "To be able to expand the type of practice I have. To work with the breast radiologists there. To be able to be involved in research. ... To have some input in training. It was the attraction of that job, not that I was wanting or needing to leave Lawrence."

McGinness, 53, said it would be difficult saying goodbye to her colleagues and patients. She particularly will miss her business partner of 20 years, Dr. Mark Praeger, and Dr. Carol Moddrell, whom she described as a gifted breast pathologist at LMH. She expects the Breast Center, Oncology Center and surgery department to continue to flourish without her.

Dr. Marilee McGinness

"I am just one component," she said. "We have top-notch oncologists here. My partners (Praeger and Dr. James Smith) are still going to be here. There are still going to be four surgeons here in town who are excellent surgeons and will continue doing top-notch breast care."

Although she is leaving many friends in Lawrence, she will be reuniting with others at KUMC, where she went through surgery residency.

She will be working with Dr. James H. Thomas, chief of surgery, who McGinness said was instrumental in her training, and Dr. Carol Connor, a breast surgeon with whom she went through training.

"I felt like it was a good match," she said of the new job. "And it ended up being something I just couldn't refuse."

She said money didn't play into her decision and noted that Gene Meyer, LMH president and chief executive officer, did offer her a position as breast surgeon with a salary to match, but she wasn't interested.

"I really like the idea of being able to concentrate on one thing and truly become an expert," McGinness said.

And McGinness said she wasn't concerned about the future of KUMC or its negotiations to possibly affiliate with St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City, Mo.

"I questioned a lot of people there while I was interviewing," she said. "I am not sure that I know a whole lot more than I knew before. I felt like the breast cancer component, the cancer component, the breast center - all of those are very important to everyone there. And I felt like that was very well supported, top-notch and has an excellent reputation - something that I really want to be a part of."

Ardena Yakle, who was receiving treatments at LMH's Oncology Center on Thursday, said she hated to see McGinness leave.

"It will be a great loss," she said. "I've been so lucky to have had such a wonderful surgeon."

The same sentiments were shared by other LMH patients, staff members and the CEO.

"We are sorry to have Dr. McGinness leaving," Meyer said. "We appreciate the many fine things she has done for the hospital and her patients. We wish her much success."


johnadavies 10 years, 10 months ago

Dr. McGinness is one of the most wonderfully competent and professional doctors I've ever met. I'm sure that the many woman (some in my family) who have been the beneficiary's of her practice will really miss her!

bearded_gnome 10 years, 10 months ago

a proficient and caring doctor. good luck!

vhrovat 10 years, 10 months ago

Dr McGinness is a talented surgeon that assisted with healing my entire body. She helped me understand what was happening to me through the entire process of Breast Cancer. She confirmed my greatest fears, removed the cancer, and helped me understand what my normal would be and the physical steps that I needed to go through. She openly offered her loving arms to sooth my racing mind and helped me walk through the next door. For these reasons and many more Dr. McGinness was a blessing that God directed me to at my time of need, and for that I give thanks and say thank you.

naturalist 10 years, 10 months ago

I had Dr. McG for my emergency appendectomy. What luck she was the surgeon at LMH that day! I recovered in record time with no scars. She's a gifted surgeon and it's a loss to us. But good luck to you, MG, you'll be happily devoting 100% time to doing what you most want to do. Lawrence will miss you.

Oddball 10 years, 10 months ago

I never met Dr. McGinness, but I have nothing but the highest regard for her partner Dr. Smith, who helped me thru my breast cancer journey. Maybe Dr Praeger sets the standard for that office since all the doctors from LSA are so highly thought of. I don't believe I could have found a more compassionate, caring, and knowledgable surgeon than Dr Smith. Best wishes for your new job, Dr McGinness, and maybe you'll be the one to find the cure!

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