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Emergency and Trauma Care

emergency care exterior

Patient-Centered Care in the Region's Designated Trauma Center

Suburban Hospital is a Level II Trauma Center and is the state-designated trauma center for Montgomery County and the region. Suburban Hospital’s Emergency Department sees more than 41,000 patients per year.

Suburban’s Emergency/Trauma Department offers a high-tech facility with a specially trained, around-the-clock medical staff for treating life-threatening conditions and serious illnesses including:

  • Trauma
  • Stroke
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Orthopedics
  • General medical and surgical
  • Respiratory GI/GU
  • Psychiatric
  • Neurological
  • Gynecological
  • Dermatological
  • ENT
  • All-purpose first-aid

Suburban's Emergency Department is also a designated Center of Excellence for stroke and ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) – a severe heart attack in which at least one major artery is blocked.

Suburban has a separate, child-centric Pediatric Emergency Center, staffed 24 hours a day by an emergency pediatrician and specially trained pediatric medical staff.

Suburban's medical team delivers appropriate, timely and high quality care to all patients. We focus on connecting patients with the right type of care for their needs, guided by the core principles of patient-and family-centered care.

What to Expect During Your Visit

Check In

When you arrive at Suburban’s Emergency Room, please check in at the Triage window. Provide your name, date of birth and reason for visit. You will then receive an ID bracelet.


Listen for your name to be called by a Triage Nurse, who will perform an assessment and recommend treatment priority. The Triage Nurse will ask you for a brief medical history, a list of your medications and the reason for your visit.


Your name will be called by a Registrar, who will ask for your phone number, address, date of birth and insurance information. You will also be asked to sign several documents necessary for treatment.


Please review the visitation guidelines for the most up-to-date information on care partner hours and any current restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Diagnosis and Treatment

A nurse will review your medical history, medications, allergies and the current illness or injury.

Patients are treated in one of the following treatment areas:

  • Minor Emergency Needs Unit (MEND): For treatment of conditions that do not require complex diagnostic tools. Typically, individuals with cuts, sprains, possible broken bones and foreign objects in the eye or ear are treated in this area.
  • Main Treatment Area: This is our largest treatment area and is equipped to deal with any major medical emergency.
  • Behavioral Health: Our Crisis Counselors, working in conjunction with our nurses and physicians, assess and treat psychiatric conditions and addiction behaviors.
  • Pediatric: A separate pediatric emergency department for individuals under the age of 18.

The "What to Expect" applies to individuals who arrive by car, public transportation or other private mode of transportation. Patients who arrive by ambulance or helicopter and are taken directly to the Main Treatment Area or a Trauma Bay.

How long will I need to wait before I am treated?

Suburban Hospital, like all hospitals, experiences variations in the number of patients who need treatment at any particular time. Depending on the number of other patients who need treatment and your particular condition, the waiting time can vary from a few minutes to more than an hour.

Why are patients who arrived after me taken to the treatment area before me?

It is often medically necessary that patients who arrive after you are treated before you receive treatment. For example, a patient suspected of having a heart attack or stroke will be treated before a patient with a cut, sprain or broken bone. There are four treatment areas, and each area has its own queue. If you are waiting for treatment in the main treatment area and a person awaiting treatment in the minor care area arrives after you, that person may be taken before you if the minor care happens to have a shorter queue.

Our most serious patients typically arrive by helicopter or ambulance and may need immediate treatment. Please rest assured that those who arrive by ambulance and whose condition does not require immediate treatment will not be treated before those in the waiting room in more serious condition. If you have questions regarding the waiting time or you feel your condition has worsened, please inform a staff member at the Triage window.


In addition to national and state certifications, Suburban Hospital's Emergency Department has received numerous awards including the Emergency Nurses Association's Lantern Award ™ and Bethesda Magazine’s Best of Bethesda Readers' Poll for Best Emergency Room four consecutive times.


Please visit our patient care page for information about public transportation, the parking garage and the Suburban Hospital campus.


All patients are evaluated and treated regardless of their ability to pay. Physician groups and other services are billed separately from hospital emergency room charges. Please visit the billing and finance page for more information on financial assistance and payment plans.

Disaster Management

Suburban's Emergency Department team works collaboratively with federal, state and local authorities to prepare for and respond to natural and human disasters that may impact our community.

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