The fifth annual Teddy Bear Hospital, the largest ever in Ireland, will take place at NUI Galway from January 28 to 29.
More than 1,000 sick teddy bears will be admitted to the facility accompanied by their owners, 1,000 primary school children aged three to eight years.
Up to 200 medical students from NUI Galway will volunteer to diagnose and treat the teddy bears. In the process, they hope to help the children feel more comfortable around doctors and hospitals.
The event is organised by the Sláinte Society, the NUI Galway branch of the International Federation of Medical Students Associations.
Cornelia Carey, a second year medical student who is helping organise the event, explains the Teddy Bear Hospital will be held over two days to cater for the “overwhelming number” of sick teddies in the city and county.
“This event provides a great opportunity for our teddy doctors to explain how doctors work and to show the children that hospitals and medical procedures are not so scary.’
Some 28 local primary schools are participating in the event. On arrival at the Teddy Bear Hospital on campus the children will go to the waiting room, a play area filled with toys and games from Smyth’s Toys. Then the children and their bears will be seen by a team of teddy doctors and nurses who will decide if these much loved bears need to visit the specially designed Teddy X-ray or MRI machine. Ailing bears can avail of medical supplies from Boots. A Teddy Pharmacy will also be open stocked with healthy fruit from Total Produce.
Afterwards, the children can enjoy a bouncy castle and visit an Order of Malta ambulance, sponsored by Medisource. Entertainment will be provided throughout the day by NUI Galway’s Juggling Society and face painters.
Ríona Hughes, NUI Galway’s Societies officer, say she loves seeing the Teddy Bear Hospital in action.
“Students take the initiative to engage with the community in mutually beneficial and creative ways. This event grows each year and for good reason.”