Emergency, Trauma & Burn Care | MedStar Health
A multi-disciplinary team of healthcare professionals poses for a group photo in front of the MedStar Helicopter at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

Our multidisciplinary teams of specialists are in the air and on the ground for critical emergencies throughout the region. No other area hospital has the experience and expertise in acute care. That’s why, every year, thousands depend on us for help in medical and surgical emergencies.

In a medical emergency, you want the hospital and the healthcare team with the most experience — and a reputation for excellence. Our emergency department provides 24-hour-a-day care for patients with all types of acute illness or injury. Board-certified emergency medicine specialists — and access to dozens of other renowned medical specialists — help ensure that patients get the right treatment and the best outcome.

Trauma care

A team of trauma specialists has a meeting at MedStar Health.

Above, some of the more than 100 providers and associates from MedStar trauma, orthopedic surgery, the operating room, anesthesiology, critical care, nursing, and the blood bank who recently provided life-saving care for Officer Crystal Griner and Rep. Steve Scalise after a mass shooting in Virginia.

CBS 60 Minutes profiled Rep. Scalise's amazing recovery and featured Dr. Jack Sava.

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The internationally renowned MedStar trauma (Medical Shock/Trauma Acute Resuscitation) at MedStar Washington Hospital Center is the regional referral center for critical multiple trauma, treating individual victims of traumatic injury and the multiple victims of mass trauma occurrences.

In the heart of the nation’s capital, the center’s well-earned reputation for excellence has been repeatedly tested. It has responded to thousands of medical crises, including treating patients of the September 11th terrorist attack on the Pentagon, and victims of the Navy Yard shootings.

MedStar’s impressive list of credentials includes:

  • Verified by the American College of Surgeons committee on trauma as a Level I trauma center, providing the top level of trauma care

  • Performs in the top decile (top 10%) of U.S. trauma centers, according to data from the American College of Surgeons Trauma Quality Improvement Program

  • Treatment at MedStar confers a 40% reduction in odds of death compared to other U.S. trauma centers.
  • Evaluates 2,200 to 3,000 patients with severe and multiple system injuries each year
  • An internationally respected multidisciplinary team of trauma experts, including trauma surgeons, emergency physicians, anesthesiologists, and many others
  • 24/7 access to the hospital’s diverse team medical and surgical specialists
  • Serves as a referral center for a 150-mile radius of the hospital, receiving critically injured trauma patients from D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, and Pennsylvania
  • Air and ground transportation via MedStar Transport bringing patients from referring hospitals and from the site of the injury
  • More than 50,000 patients airlifted by MedStar helicopter transport service, staffed round-the-clock with surgeons and medical flight staff specially trained in the complexities of trauma care
  • Offers eight resuscitation areas, with access to an operating room and high-tech equipment to assess, diagnose, and treat life-threatening injuries and illnesses

Burn care

A burn therapist works with a patient to provide therapy to his hand at MedStar Health.

From a minor burn incident to critical burns, our Burn Center has been committed to the comprehensive care of burn patients for more than 50 years. We are the only adult burn treatment center in the Washington Metropolitan area, serving the District, Southern Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Eastern West Virginia.

MedStar transport service

The MedStar Helicopter lands at a hospital.

For decades, the internationally respected MedStar Trauma Center has cared for patients with life threatening, multiple traumas. The renowned MedStar transport service provides helicopter and ground transport for critical care patients from within a 150-mile radius of the hospital.

Community outreach

Stop The Bleed logo

Stop the bleed

No matter how rapid the arrival of professional emergency responders, bystanders will always be first on the scene.  A person who is bleeding can die from blood loss within five minutes, therefore it is important to quickly stop the blood loss. Those nearest to someone with life-threatening injuries are best positioned to provide first care. According to a recent National Academies of Science study, trauma is the leading cause of death for Americans under age 46.

By educating themselves in emergency first-aid, ordinary people become the first line of treatment. Learning how to respond to life-threatening injuries could empower you to help save a life. By stopping the blood flow on a wounded individual, you can help buy the time our MedStar Trauma team needs to retrieve the injured patient and do what they do best.

Click the poster to learn more about the Stop the Bleed campaign.

Department of Homeland Security

Advanced trauma life support

Advanced Trauma Life Support logo

Recognizing that emergency medicine and trauma response skills are a useful skill set for all physicians, we offer our physicians quarterly classes for Advanced Trauma Life Support® (ATLS®). The course curriculum provides our physicians with training on how to immediately manage an injured patient's needs.

The course presents doctors with knowledge and techniques that are comprehensive and easily adapted to fit their needs. For doctors who infrequently treat trauma, the ATLS course provides an easy-to-remember method for evaluating and treating the victim of a traumatic event. For doctors who treat traumatic disease on a frequent basis, the ATLS course provides a scaffold for evaluation, treatment, education, and quality assurance. In short, ATLS is a measurable, reproducible, and comprehensive system of trauma care.

By the end of the course, participants should have the ability to:

  1. Assess the patient’s condition rapidly and accurately.
  2. Resuscitate and stabilize the patient according to priority.
  3. Determine if the patient’s needs exceed a facility’s capacity.
  4. Arrange appropriately for the patient’s inter-hospital transfer (who, what, when, and how).
  5. Assure that optimum care is provided and that the level of care does not deteriorate at any point during the evaluation, resuscitation, or transfer process.

Advanced trauma care for nurses

Advanced Trauma Care for Nurses logo

Nurses are an integral part of patient care and critical members of the emergency response team, which is why we also offer a course in Advanced Trauma Care for Nurses (ATCN) twice a year to equip our nursing staff with valuable trauma and emergency medicine skills.

ATCN is an advanced course designed for the registered nurse interested in increasing his/her knowledge in management of the multiple trauma patient, and is taught concurrently with the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Advanced Trauma Life Support® (ATLS).

The ATCN course offers unique training in:

  • Initial assessment and management
  • Airway and ventilatory management
  • Pediatric trauma
  • Hemorrhagic shock
  • Musculoskeletal & spinal trauma
  • Head trauma

Advanced critical care

Each year, thousands of patients depend on the expertise of our multidisciplinary team of critical care specialists. We bring together highly skilled medical specialists, surgeons, and nurses — and the most advanced technology — to provide intensive medical treatment for adults and newborns with life-threatening illness or injury.

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Our providers

Doctors Taryn Travis, Jeffrey Shupp and Shawn Tejiram pose for a photo on the helipad at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. The helicopter is in the background.

Expert trauma and burn care

Getting the care you need starts with seeing one of our trauma and burn specialists.

Trauma Survivors Support Group