For the fifteenth year running, students from the Sláinte Society in NUIG have opened the university’s doors for their award-winning Teddy Bear Hospital and all its ‘patients’. Over 1,200 sick teddy bears were admitted to the hospital, accompanied by their minders, 1,200 primary school children.
The two-day event organised by NUI Galway’s health-promoting society had 29 local primary schools involved and about 200 Medical, Healthcare and Science students to diagnose the teddy bears. Behind this initiative is the ambition to help 4-8 year-old children become more comfortable in the medical environment. As third-year Medical student and co-auditor of Sláinte society, Clodagh Ryan says “We hope to provide a fun, relaxed atmosphere so that both children and teddies can feel more comfortable around doctors and hospitals.”
All children enter the Teddy Hospital as they would any real hospital and wait on their individual consultation with the teddy doctors on campus. Their teddy is then examined and receives a ‘pawscription’ and referral to surgery or x-ray in the specially designed X-ray and MRI machines on hand, depending on the seriousness of the ‘injury’. Should they need them, recuperating teddy bears can avail of medical supplies from the Teddy Bear Pharmacy which is stocked with healthy fruit from Total Produce and Fyffes and medical supplies sponsored by Matt O’Flaherty Chemist.
Teddy doctors can never fall short of new diagnoses as over the years, the children have come along with teddies suffering from an imaginative range of ‘weird and wonderful ailments’.
After all consultations, the children can enjoy a bouncy castle and face painting.
The event is sponsored by the Medical Protection Society.