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Doctor's departure leaves hospital board vacancy
Dr  Chris Vaughn his shot
Dr. Chris Vaughn
Liberty County was left without an orthopedist Oct. 16 when Dr. Christopher Vaughn closed Coastal Orthopedics and Sports Medicine.
Vaughn offered no explanation for his departure and representatives from his practice said Vaughn was not interested in discussing it.  
But health officials say Vaughn is leaving the local area.
Liberty Regional Medical Center CEO Scott Kroell said LRMC is working on finding a replacement.
"We are talking to three different groups to provide a physician here at least two days a week until we find our own," Kroell said via e-mail.
Vaughn's move also leaves a vacancy on the Liberty County Hospital Authority.
State law allows interested residents to apply for the seat through the board of commissioners, which will narrow the pool to three names for the authority to select from.  
"It's a natural process," Kroell said. "Board members serve and rotate off and we replace them."
The authority expects to have a list of candidates from the commissioners in time for next month's meeting and will make a selection at that time, according to authority Chairman Jon Long.
The new member will be an LRMC doctor, as required by law, and Long said the authority wants someone interested in supporting the hospital's improvement efforts.
"Of course, other factors come into play, such as a good reputation in the community, the ability to get along and accomplish goals, and a desire to see improvement in healthcare for our community," Long said.
County Commissioner Chair John McIver said the commissioners will look for candidates who share the hospital's vision and concern for local health issues.
"(We'll look for) someone willing to serve, has the time to serve and has the interest of the county and hospital in mind," McIver said.
Long said Vaughn was a good representative of the authority whose personal values influenced him to make valuable contributions.
"I have appreciated his mild, thoughtful demeanor," Long said. "He has never shied away from the tough issues, but has been able to address them in the most courteous way."
"We're going to miss Dr. Vaughn, but he'll be replaced," Kroell said.
Commissioners also are accepting applications for the two appointed positions currently held by Long and Verdell Jones, whose three-year terms have expired. Both Long and Jones are seeking reappointments.
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