Bayhealth makes move to new Sussex Campus

MILFORD — Milford Memorial Hospital closed its doors Tuesday as Bayhealth moved into a new facility across town, ending an era that has witnessed the ebb and flow of the community since 1938.

The historic hospital will live on as a skilled-nursing facility with a myriad other offerings when Nationwide Healthcare Services soon takes over the building and retrofits it to their needs and specifications.

But first, the staff, patients and family members occupying the space inside Milford Memorial Hospital had to make the journey to the brand new, state-of-the-art medical facility on the just as new 169-acre Bayhealth Sussex Campus.

The transition started overnight Tuesday and into the early afternoon hours as 72 patients were transferred from one hospital to the next with the help of about 17 ambulances and their crews.

All the while, the emergency department at Milford Memorial remained open until about 2 p.m. Tuesday to help the community keep a continuity of care during the event.

The transition was well received, according to Dr. Julianne Wysocki, medical director for the emergency department at Bayhealth Sussex.

“It has gone very smoothly,” she said Tuesday. “We looked into everything right down to the train schedules.”

One by one, patients began their journey from Milford Memorial Hospital starting at around 2 a.m. when some of the most fragile, intensive care unit patients were brought over to their new rooms.

A tracking system put in place for the move helped hospital staff stay connected throughout the coordinated effort, according to Bayhealth President and CEO Terry Murphy.

Around 6:30 a.m., the first inpatient rehabilitation patient, Al Lakomyj of Dover, was moved to the new hospital. Bayhealth arranged for a short interview with Mr. Lakomyj and his wife Diane before their transition.

“The staff is really fantastic. I’m looking forward to it. I think it’s a big boost. It’s wonderful to participate in the new hospital,” he said.

Mr. Lakomyj said he has been in the hospital now for going on three months after he flatlined during heart surgery and was brought back with life-saving expertise.

“It’s an honor to be asked to do this [speak with the media]. This is such a special time in Delaware,” she said.

“Everything is just like they planned it and they executed it perfectly,” Mr. Lakomyj said of the transition.

After a scenic ride to the new hospital via ambulance, he joined his wife, Bayhealth staff, volunteers and others from the community for a ribbon cutting at the main entrance to the new hospital before being wheeled up to his new room.

The excitement was mixed with a variety of emotions for those involved, according to Mr. Murphy.

“As I was walking through the old hospital at midnight (Monday) night, there was just a lot of bittersweet thoughts. It’s hard to leave,” he said.

“It’s a special place. When I started with Bayhealth, it was at Milford Memorial. I have a great sense of gratitude to the people I work with. They did a great deal of work here. . . There’s just a great deal of pride. And a little bit of sadness for Milford Memorial Hospital as we leave that great building. . . We are open for business right now. Come on in.”

 

Reach staff writer Jennifer Antonik at jantonik@newszap.com

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