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Dublin: 18 °C Wednesday 24 July, 2019
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NUI Galway's Teddy Bear Hospital aims to ease children's fears of doctor visits

Over 1,200 sick teddy bears are expected to be admitted to NUI Galway’s Teddy Bear Hospital next week.

Mia from Scoil Mhuire National School, Oranmore, Co. Galway, with teddy bear, mini Mia who is suffering with a sore ear and brown paw.
Mia from Scoil Mhuire National School, Oranmore, Co. Galway, with teddy bear, mini Mia who is suffering with a sore ear and brown paw.
Image: NUI Galway

OVER 1,200 SICK teddy bears are expected to be admitted to NUI Galway’s Teddy Bear Hospital next week, which is now in its fourteenth year. 

Next Thursday and Friday, teddy bears that are under the weather can check in to the hospital accompanied by their minders, 1,200 children from 29 local primary schools.

The aim of the hospital is to help children, ranging in age from 3 to 8-years-old, feel more comfortable around doctors and hospitals.

The event is run every year by NUIG’s Sláinte Society with the help of 200 medical, healthcare and science students who diagnose and treat the teddy bears in their care. In previous years, alignments presented have ranged from sore ears to upset tummies. 

According to NUI Galway’s Societies Officer, Ríona Hughes, the Teddy Bear Hospital is a learning experience for both the primary school kids and the NUIG students involved. 

“The teddy bear hospital is a magical opportunity for the society to invite the children and their teddies to campus and provide a valuable learning experience for all. It is one of the NUI Galway societies’ most colourful and endearing community outreach programme.” 

AMM-180118-5986 Pictured at last year’s Teddy Bear Hospital at NUI Galway were (l-r) Ryan, William and Oisín from Kilcroan National School, Ballyglass South, Williamstown, Co. Galway. Source: NUIG

When the kids arrive with their stuffed animals they will each have a consultation with one of the teddy doctors on call, who will examine the patients and write them a “pawscription”.

The student doctors will have specially designed X-ray and MRI machines on hand, should the teddy bears need them. Bears that are recuperating can avail of the of medical supplies from the Teddy Bear Pharmacy, stocked with healthy fruit.  

Second-year Occupational Therapy student, Anna Lynam says that despite the growing demand every year for the teddy bear hospital, the Sláinte Society tries to include as many schools as possible. 

“We are conscious that each and every teddy bear in Galway deserves the best care and are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our first patients and hope to present an atmosphere of fun, enthusiasm and encouragement for all.”

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Adam Daly

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