Hospital patients such as Al Lakomyj of Dover are used to being awakened by staff for medicine or for other purposes.
Tuesday, Lakomyj was excited to be up extra early. He was the first inpatient rehabilitation patient to be transferred from Milford Memorial Hospital to the new Bayhealth Sussex Campus a short distance away.
He's looking forward even more to returning home from the hospital, where he has been treated for heart-related issues.
"It's a state of the art facility. The staff is fantastic," Lakomyj said. "I'm looking forward to it."
The maneuvers were years in the planning.
"It's been sitting down with physicians, nurses, people that are directly at the bedside in order to deliver the best possible care to our patients and have a good work flow," Bayhealth Emergency Room Medical Director Dr. Julianne Wysocki said.
The emergency room at the new facility off Route 1 also opened early Tuesday.
According to Bayhealth President and CEO Terry Murphy, nearly 20 ambulances from local rescue squads and fire companies lined up for the transportation initiative.
"Our top priority is safety for our patients," Murphy said. "The patients have been well cared for during that transport, before and after."
"We deliver great care, but now we have a wonderful facility to match that," Wysocki said. "We have all new, state of the art equipment. It's really spectacular to be able to do this for our community."
The Milford site has been purchased by Nationwide, and it will be renovated into a senior wellness village with about 150 nursing home beds.
Al Lacomyj's wife Diane said her husband does not remember some of the procedures he had gone through, and she credits the medical staff at Bayhealth for putting her husband on the road to recovery.
"I have been by his side the whole time. I had every intention and faith I would take him home, and I'm going to take him home."