Mom, newborn are hospital’s 1st patients

Downtown facility opens at 6 a.m., culminating years of planning.

After more than 10 years of planning, the hospital officially opened its doors at 6 a.m. Sunday and moved 116 patients from the East High Campus to downtown in six hours. Afterwards, they moved 13 patients from Acute Rehab Unit at the Community Mercy Health Partners facility at 100 W. McCreight Ave.

Gretchen Zinkhon and her newborn son, Hayden, from Urbana, were the first to arrive at the new hospital.

“It’s very exciting being the first people at the new hospital,” Gretchen Zinkhon said. Her son was born at 8:26 p.m. Saturday after 16 hours of labor.

Some hospital staff arrived at one of the hospital locations as early as 2 a.m. The bulk of the staff arrived at 6 a.m., and hundreds went to the auditorium of the nursing school to get the T-shirts that marked their stations and for a last hurrah with hospital administration.

“Let’s bring in the next generation of state of the art health care,” said Mark Wiener, Community Mercy Health Partner president and CEO to his staff as they cheered.

After the rousing cheer for the Zinkhon family as the first arrivals, hospital staff moved the rest of the patients smoothly, though not without delay.

“There were a number of admissions through the ER last night so it was a higher acuity of care,” said Dave Lamb, CMHP spokesman. “Those cases take a little longer.”

Once records were verified and patients received their new scannable wrist tags, another transport team moved them to their new room, and a lift team placed them on a bed. Clean teams followed, making sure the gurneys and equipment were clean for the next patient transport.

Lamb said there were no reports of anyone going to the wrong hospital or medical issues.

“It went very smoothly,” Lamb said. “The entire patient move it went as planned and it was a very successful move.”

Contact this reporter at (937) 328-0371 or

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