The 8th annual Teddy Bear Hospital at NUI Galway will take place Thursday and Friday 24th and 25th of January. The event will see over 1,500 sick teddy bears admitted to the hospital, accompanied by their minders, 1,500 primary school children.
The event is organised by the Sláinte Society, the NUI Galway branch of the International Federation of Medical Students Associations, and up to 200 medical and science students will diagnose and treat the teddy bears. In the process, they hope to help children, ranging in age from 3–8 years, feel more comfortable around doctors and hospitals. Over the years, children have come along with teddy bears suffering from an imaginative range of sore ears, sick tummies and all kinds of others weird and wonderful ailments.
Henry Roberts, a second-year medical student at NUI Galway and co-organiser of Sláinte Society, said: “We have had unprecedented demand for Teddy Bear Hospital this year, and are delighted that so many teddies and their owners can be accommodated. This is one of the biggest community outreach programs in NUI Galway, and it always proves to be a fantastic day, not only for the children but also the students who volunteer!”
This year, 26 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’, which contains jugglers and face painters. Then the children and their teddy bears are seen by a team of Teddy Doctors and Teddy Nurses, who will examine them. The students will have specially designed X-ray and MRI machines on hand, should the teddy bears need them. Those in need of minor surgery will be stitched up by members of the sewing society present on the day.
Recuperating teddy bears can avail of medical supplies from the Teddy Bear Pharmacy, stocked with healthy fruit from Total Produce, along with medical supplies from Matt O’Flaherty and Boots to help poor teddy recover.
After all this excitement the children can enjoy a bouncy castle and visit an Order of Malta ambulance. Further support for the event has come from, among others, Abbott pharmaceuticals, MPS, Bons Secours and Leo Walsh pharmacy.
Ríona Hughes, NUI Galway’s Societies Officer, said: “The Teddy Bear hospital is a wonderful opportunity for the students to engage in a meaningful way with the children in Galway City and County schools. It is one of the NUI Galway societies’ most colourful and endearing community outreach programme and we are thrilled with its success. Congratulations to Sláinte Society who invite the children and their teddy bears on to campus for such a great reason and we look forward to a rewarding few days for all involved.”