Suburban Hospital in Bethesda has added a refrigerated truck to serve as a mobile morgue unit in case the hospital morgue exceeds its capacity during the coronavirus pandemic Credit: Photo courtesy of Teri DeSadier

Suburban Hospital in Bethesda and Holy Cross Health’s two Montgomery County hospitals have acquired outside refrigeration units to use in case the hospital morgues exceed their capacity during the coronavirus pandemic.

Suburban Hospital received a refrigerated truck unit in preparation for the virus’s peak, Johns Hopkins Medicine spokeswoman Alsy Acevedo wrote in an email last week.

“Because most hospital morgues have limited capacity, regional emergency management systems have provided mobile morgue units to hospitals in our area. Like many other health care providers locally and nationally, we have accepted a mobile morgue unit, in the form of a refrigerated truck, in an effort to be prepared and with the hope of never needing it,” she wrote.

Teri DeSadier, whose house faces the back of the hospital, told Bethesda Beat she first noticed the truck when she heard the hum of the refrigeration unit on April 19.

Holy Cross’s hospitals in Silver Spring and Germantown have also prepared for the possibility of needing overflow morgue capacity, wrote spokeswoman Kristin Feliciano in an email last week.

“We have traditional morgues at both hospitals and have external refrigeration units should they be necessary,” she wrote.


Representatives at Adventist HealthCare’s hospitals in Shady Grove and White Oak, and at MedStar Montgomery Medical Center in Olney could not be reached for comment.

Hospitals across the country are using mobile morgue units to store the deceased in the event hospital morgues exceed their capacity. New York City received 45 refrigerated trailers at the beginning of this month, The New York Times reported.

Dan Schere can be reached at



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