Approximately 500 children, Teddy bears in tow, visited the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine of Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan on Monday seeking medical treatment for their beloved furry companions.

The Azrieli Faculty of Medicine complex in Tzfat was transformed into a mock hospital, with X-ray rooms, blood test facilities, an ambulance, cardiac room and more. The annual communal-educational activity aims to alleviate the anxiety that children may experience towards medical professionals, medical care and hospitalization.

Medical and research students acted as attending doctors. Together with medical-school faculty, they created various treatment stations set up throughout: a mock emergency room, surgical ward, orthopedics, ear, nose and throat, eyes, heart, brain, healthy lifestyle, labs. Stations were also set up by Magen David Adom, the Israel Police, BeTerem and the Israel Defense Forces.

“It’s amazing here,” said Einav Pony, whose 8-year-old daughter, Lidar, most enjoyed the makeshift pharmacy. “People come every year, and each year a new, creative and innovative touch is introduced,” she added of the Teddy Bear Hospital, which has taken place annually over the last decade.

The event provided children with the opportunity to ask questions related to illness, injury, medical treatment and more. Students and faculty addressed their needs, explained various procedures and offered medical care. The youngsters also took an active part in the process of admission, examination and diagnosis, and referral to various hospital wards.

Professor Karl Skorecki, dean of the faculty, said “after two years of COVID and dozens of tests these children had to undergo, we now have a chance to show them alternative treatment. By treating their teddy bears we demonstrate different aspects of medicine, teach them about the human body and try to alleviate their concerns.”

He extended special thanks to Freddy Singer who each year contributes to the creation of the Teddy Bear Hospital and for the northern Israeli community of Matat and its contributions.

Medical student director of the Teddy Bear Hospital Amit Gabay said “we were happy to see so many children passing through the various stations, asking questions and ‘curing’ their dolls and bears. Most importantly, this event helps them cope with the fear of medical treatment.”

At the conclusion of the event, each child received a Teddy Bear Hospital graduate certificate.

JNS

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