While everyone dislikes being admitted to a hospital, Daniel Thelen of Belleville had a unique experience in that he was excited to be the first person admitted at the new HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in O’Fallon.

Thelen has been a patient at HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Belleville, since moving to the area in 1983. He had open heart surgery earlier this week at the Belleville hospital location and was starting rehab on our fifth floor Comprehensive Rehab Unit. Since he was not yet ready to be discharged, he and all of the other inpatients were informed that they would be transferred to the new St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in O’Fallon on their opening day of November 4.  Through the careful assessment of all the patients by the move planning task force teams, Thelen ended up being the first patient to enter the doors of the $300 million facility.

The hospital began moving patients on Saturday, November 4 around 5:00 a.m. with the assistance of 23 ambulance rigs.  O’Fallon Incident Commander Donna Meyers, RN, described how the patients were moved from the Belleville hospital to the new hospital in O’Fallon. “St. Elizabeth’s partnered with several local ambulance agencies from across their service area for the move. A nurse accompanied each patient in an ambulance on the trip from Belleville to O’Fallon to ensure safe, quality patient care,” she said. “Scott Air Force Base also served as a valuable partner in this move, with their personnel assisting in communication with inpatients and their families prior to the move as well as helping with logistics during the move.”

Thelen was very pleased with his care at both locations, St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Belleville as well as in O’Fallon, and noted that “it was the way he saw all colleagues working as a family, that made the day so special.”

While Thelen is eager to return home, he was pleased to be able to experience the move and recuperate in the newly opened St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. He will be experiencing his therapy sessions in the expansive fifth floor Rehab Gym, which has floor to ceiling windows to provide patients with beautiful views.


Media Contact

Kelly Barbeau

Manager, Marketing & Communications
HSHS Illinois
Office: (618) 234-2120, Ext. 41270

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