Thanksgiving is no holiday for Twin Cities medical professionals

Holiday or not, the work at Twin Cities hospitals never stops. 

Thanksgiving looked a lot like any other Thursday for Dr. Jon Fuerstenberg, the lead intensivist at Allina Health’s Abbott Northwestern Hospital’s ICU. 

"Critical care is a 24/7 specialty. We have the same number of people, whether it's Thanksgiving Day, a Saturday or a Monday," said Dr. Fuerstenberg. 

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

"It's the sickest patients in the hospital who end up in the ICU, which is why we have to be here 24/7," said Dr. Fuerstenberg. 

Renee Rosenberg is an operations manager for Allina Health EMS. She’ll be on the road in the south metro meeting EMS crews as they respond to 911 calls. Allina Health EMS’s therapy dog, Evie, will be traveling with her to greet the crews on the street and help keep spirits high during the holiday.

"She is here for our paramedics and EMTs. She works with myself and our other handler when we are on duty," said Rosenberg. "We get calls to households where families are having their holiday, so we go into a full audience of people as we go help their family member who is sick or injured."

Working on a holiday isn't ideal, but Rosenberg still finds time for a little turkey with her loved ones, even if it is a few days late. 

"Our families understand our commitment to our jobs and that sometimes we are going to miss holidays ... we will have something this weekend, and it will probably be leftovers, but that's OK!" said Rosenberg.