Israel’s Teddy Bear Hospital aims to help children’s medical anxieties

Dror Miller The children posing with their teddy bears outside the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine, Safed, Israel, May 2, 2022.

‘People come here every year, and each year, a new, creative and innovative touch is introduced’

Roughly 500 children brought their teddy bears to Israel’s Azrieli Faculty of Medicine on Monday as part of a program seeking to help alleviate medical anxiety in children.

The Azrieli Faculty of Medicine complex, located in the northern city of Safed, was transformed into a mock hospital for children to bring their beloved companions. The facility included X-ray rooms, blood test facilities, an ambulance, a cardiac room and more.

Medical and research students acted as attending doctors and, together with medical school faculty, they created various treatment stations, including a mock emergency room and surgical ward.

“It’s amazing here,” said Einav Pony, whose eight-year-old daughter, Lidar, most enjoyed the makeshift pharmacy. “People come here 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.

Miriam Alster/FLASH90
Miriam Alster/FLASH90Israeli children treat teddy bears as part of a project titled “Teddy Bear Hospital,” at Soroka hospital, in the southern Israeli city of Be’er Sheva, May 12, 2015.

Children were able to ask questions related to illness, injury and medical treatments, with students and faculty addressing them and explaining various procedures. The children also took an active part in admission, examination and diagnosis, and referral.

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

Each child received a Teddy Bear Hospital graduation certificate at the end of the program.

Originally published in i24NEWS. View the original article here.