Teddies grin and bear it at hospital’s tenth anniversary

Overcrowding and delays were not an issue at one particular hospital recently, with over 1,500 sick teddy bears treated in the space of two days on the NUI Galway campus.

The annual Teddy Bear Hospital took place from 22-23 January in the Bailey Allen Hall, Áras na Mac Léinn.

This was the tenth year of the event which invites local primary school children and their cuddly friends to the university, with the aim of helping 3-8 year olds feel more comfortable around doctors and hospitals.

It is organised by Sláinte Society, the NUI Galway branch of the International Federation of Medical Students Associations. This year 22 local primary schools participated in the event which was run by over 200 student volunteers.

Katie Lynam, a second year Medical student at NUI Galway and co-auditor of Sláinte Society, said:

“This year we are celebrating ten years of Teddy Bear Hospital and it has been our biggest ever with 1,500 children attending over the two mornings. We tried to create a fun, friendly atmosphere for both the children and our volunteers!”

Upon arrival, school children went to the waiting room where they were kept entertained by jugglers and face painters.

A team of Teddy Doctors and Teddy Nurses then met the children and examined their teddy bears, using specially designed X-ray and MRI machines where necessary.

Sore ears and sick tummies were the most common ailments affecting the stuffed animal population, and thankfully the trained professionals were on hand to examine and stitch up the bears before home time.

As part of their recovery, teddy bears were provided with goods from the Teddy Bear Pharmacy, stocked with healthy fruit from Total Produce and medical supplies sponsored by MPS and Bank of Ireland.

After the brave visit to the hospital children enjoyed a bouncy castle and entertainment from the university’s Juggling Society. Further sponsorship for these came from Medisource and Electric Garden and Theatre.

Ríona Hughes, NUI Galway’s Societies Officer, spoke highly of the event:

“The Teddy Bear Hospital is a magical opportunity for the society to invite the children and their teddies on campus and provide a valuable learning experience for all. It is one of the NUI Galway societies’ most colourful and endearing community outreach programmes and we are thrilled with its success. Congratulations to Sláinte Society who engage such a large number of our students in this event for such a positive purpose and we hope it was a rewarding few days for all involved.”

By Ciara Treacy

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