Anna Wirth

Anna Wirth

Emergency Doctor

7. January 2016


An emergency doctor by day and a mother by night, Anna Wirth has few opportunities to relax. That’s why she selected the furniture in the spacious interior of her light-filled home in Freiburg so carefully: it had to be flexible enough for the family but aesthetically consistent, too. Here, in conversation, Anna tells us how daily life in an ambulance influences her life at home.

Anna, almost every one of your rooms has something from USM in it.

Yes, we have various pieces of furniture from USM, such as the rolling cabinet in the office and the shelving units in the living room and bedroom. But these pieces can be integrated anywhere. For example, we have the serving cart in the bathroom – even that fits. That kind of flexibility won me over.

How did you discover USM?

I choose my furniture very carefully. I look purposefully and only buy when I am genuinely convinced. Due to its quality and design, I have enjoyed USM for a while. Then, my parents gifted my husband and me a USM shelf for Christmas. That’s how it all started.

Anna rarely changes the basic arrangement of her furniture, but she likes to be spontaneous when it comes to details.

Did you and your husband have similar ideas for how to furnish your home from the start?

Yes, my husband and I feel comfortable in the same spaces. We have known each other since university, and both of our parents had similar senses of interior design – both had a very homey style. I believe that the arrangement of parental homes influences one’s own perception of comfort. For our first shared place, we adopted a lot of furniture from our parents. My husband’s father was a furniture designer; his role models were, for example, designs by Knoll. That style – elegant pieces of furniture with elements of steel – is now reflected in our space and explains the large USM quota.

Your husband also works as an emergency doctor. To what extent does your home function as a sanctuary in which to recover after a stressful day?

With two children, our house is definitely no sanctuary (laughs)! I have always worked a lot and had little time to get comfortable at home. It wasn’t until I was pregnant that I was able to use our beautiful house as a comfort zone. Finally, I had time to lie in the sun on the balcony and enjoy the view.

With two children, Anna barely has time for herself.

“You’ll find our trolley table in the bathroom – the design of USM fits everywhere.”

Your official job description is anesthesiologist. What are your responsibilities?

Many people know the term only in the context of anesthesia and ask: ‘“Are you even a doctor?” But in addition to anesthesia, I am responsible for intensive and emergency care, as well as pain management. My place of work is both in ambulances and hospitals. But the birth of my children led me to set new priorities. For example, as a mother, I no longer want to do night shifts. I only occasionally work as an emergency doctor now, as much as I really enjoy it.

Do you remember your first dispatch?

Yes, I was an intern at the time and accompanied a very experienced emergency doctor. We were called to an apartment at 8 AM. Inexperienced as I was, I automatically acted based on what I had learned in school: inspecting, shaking and talking to the patient. The emergency doctor just shook her head: “Girl, he is long gone!.”

The preference for furniture with steel elements runs in the family: Anna’s father-in-law used to design furniture like this.

Isn’t it incredibly difficult to mentally prepare for a dispatch?

These days, a lot is simulated in our training. But of course, this is still far removed from reality. Even in the few minutes on the way to the dispatch, it is barely possible to prepare for the situation that awaits you. Often, everything is totally different from the way it was described on the phone.

How do you feel afterward?

In the immediate moment, I am often empathetic with the patients. Sometimes I cry. But as soon as I leave the situation, I am done. In my work in the intensive care unit, it can also happen that I take a patient home with me in my thoughts. But the routine slowly allows the emotional tension to pass. It has to be that way, or you wouldn’t be able to bear it day after day.

“I like it simple and prefer to arrange small accents.”

Only after being pregnant was Anna able to enjoy the beautiful view from her apartment.

Your children are very young. Does your profession make you more relaxed or more anxious as a parent?

In some ways, I am strict. They are only allowed to go into the lake with life vests because I have pulled a lot of children from the water. But to be so close to death at work every day also has its advantages. I am aware of all that can happen and am all the more grateful that we are healthy. So I am not necessarily more anxious as a mother. Children need to play and have their own experiences, and for this reason, we currently have a swing set in our living room.

How often do you change your furniture configuration?

I’m a little more creative when it comes to the details. Before the swing set, we used to have a punching bag and a trapeze. As far as the basic structure of our living space, I don’t need that much variety. I like it simple and prefer classic accents – for example, the USM pieces.

As a doctor, Anna is constantly confronted with matters of life or death, but she stays relaxed when it comes to the education of her children.

And have you made any changes to the USM furniture yourself?

Not yet, but I am determined to as soon as I can take the time for it. It appeals to me – furniture that you can change according to your ideas and requirements. I would definitely like to have more USM – maybe something else in this beautiful, vibrant red.

The family lives in the city center, but nature is right outside their door.

Thank you, Anna, for your time and for the interesting insights into your life and your home.

This portrait was produced by the international interview magazine Freunde von Freunden. Find more USM furniture for your home and workspace here.