A group of 500 children, teddy bears in tow, visited Bar Ilan University’s Azrieli Medical School on Monday, seeking medical treatment for their furry companions.
The Azrieli complex, located in Tsfat, was transformed into a mock Teddy Bear hospital, with X-ray rooms, blood test facilities, an ambulance, and a cardiac room. This annual community educational activity aims to alleviate the anxiety children may experience about medical professionals, medical care, and hospitalization. The Teddy Bear Hospital is run by the Azrieli Faculty in cooperation with Freddy Singer’s Matat fund, dedicated to promoting educational and social activities in Galilea, with an emphasis on educating parents.
Medical and research students acted as attending doctors. Together with the medical school’s 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 IDF.
“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.
The event provided children with the opportunity to ask questions related to illness, injury, and medical treatment. Students and faculty addressed their questions, 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 the various hospital wards.
Prof. Karl Skorecki, Dean of the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine of Bar-Ilan University: “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.” Prof. Skorecki extended special thanks to Freddy Singer who each year contributes to the creation of the Teddy Bear Hospital, and for Matat’s contribution to the community in northern Israel.
Medical student Amit Gabay, Director of the Teddy Bear Hospital: “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.”
After the event, each child received a Teddy Bear Hospital graduate certificate.