Lawrence Memorial Hospital’s Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday was bittersweet.
Board member Dr. Mark Praeger, a longtime Lawrence surgeon, received a standing ovation for having served on the nine-member board since 2001.
It was his last board meeting and the self-described “tough guy” shed a few tears as he was thanked for his service.
Praeger has been in private practice with Lawrence Surgery Associates, which is merging with another private surgery practice called General Surgery.
The new group will be known as Lawrence General Surgery, and they will be employed by LMH.
The new group also includes Drs. Steve Myrick, William Freund Jr. and Cheryl Rice.
The merger becomes official Jan. 1, and the group will start seeing patients Jan. 4 in a second-floor space that formerly housed Cardiovascular Consultants.
Because Praeger is becoming an LMH employee, he no longer is eligible to serve on the board.
Mayor Rob Chestnut will appoint someone to complete Praeger’s term, which expires in September.