Thanksgiving is no holiday for Twin Cities medical professionals

Whether it’s a holiday or not, the work at Twin Cities Hospitals never stops.

Thanksgiving seemed like any other Thursday for Dr. John Furstenberg, the chief intensive care specialist in the intensive care unit at Abbott Northwestern Hospital of Alla Health.

“Critical care is a 24/7 specialty. We have the same number of people, whether it’s Thanksgiving Day or Saturday or Monday,” said Dr. Furstenberg.

Having worked for decades in medicine, he is used to spending holidays away from his family. His wife is also a doctor, so there is an innate understanding that he needs to be there for his patients, many of whom are on ventilators or heart machines.

“The sickest patients in the hospital are the ones who end up in the ICU, which is why we have to be here 24/7,” said Dr. Furstenberg.

Renee Rosenberg is the Director of Operations for Allina Health EMS. She will be on the road in Metro South meeting EMS crews while answering 911 calls. Evie, Allina Health EMS therapy dog, will travel with her to greet crews on the street and help keep spirits high during the holiday.

“She’s here for our paramedics and EMTs. She works with myself and our other therapist when we’re on duty,” Rosenberg said. “We get calls to the homes where families are vacationing, so we go to a whole audience of people as we go to help their sick or injured family members.”

Working a holiday isn’t ideal, but Rosenberg still finds time for a little turkey with her loved ones, even if she’s a few days late.

“Our families understand that we are committed to our jobs and that sometimes we’ll miss the holidays… We’ll have something this weekend, maybe it’s leftovers, but that’s okay!” Rosenberg said.