With half of Ireland suffering from the Australian flu, teddy bears’ health is often forgotten, or ignored.
All of that will change next week, when over 1,300 sick teddy bears will be diagnosed at the 13th annual Teddy Bear Hospital at NUI Galway.
The event will see over 1,300 sick teddy bears admitted to the hospital, accompanied by their minders, 1,300 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.
The society hopes to help children aged between three and eight feel more comfortable around doctors and hospitals.
Over the years, children have come along with teddy bears suffering from an imaginative range of illnesses and ailments.
Sally Cahill, a third year medical student at NUI Galway and co-auditor of Sláinte Society, said: “This year we are celebrating the 13th annual Teddy Bear Hospital.
“Over the past couple of years, demand from schools to attend the event has increased and as a result the event has become ever bigger in an attempt to cure all of the sick teddies of Galway.
“We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our first ‘patients’ on Thursday, 18 January and hope to create a relaxed and enjoyable ‘hospital’ environment for the children.”
This year, 25 local primary schools are participating in the event, equating to over 1,300 children. 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.
Recuperating teddy bears can avail of medical supplies from the Teddy Bear Pharmacy, stocked with healthy fruit from Burkes Fruit and Veg, along with medical supplies sponsored by Matt O’Flaherty Chemist.
The Teddy Bear Hospital at NUI Galway will take place Thursday and Friday, 18 and 19 January.