NUI Galway Students hold the Sixth Annual Teddy Bear Hospital

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

The 6th annual Teddy Bear Hospital, the largest ever in Ireland, will take place at NUI Galway from 27 to 28 January. Organised by the Sláinte Society, the NUI Galway branch of the International Federation of Medical Students Associations, the event will see over 1,300 sick teddy bears admitted to the hospital, accompanied by their owners, 1,300 primary school children between the ages of three and seven. Up to 200 students from NUI Galway will volunteer to diagnose and treat the teddy bears. In the process, they hope to help the children feel more comfortable around doctors and hospitals. Event Organiser, Bryan Reidy, a second year medical student at NUI Galway and a member of Sláinte Society, said: "This year 1,300 ill teddies and their concerned owners will visit the Teddy Bear Hospital over two days. We hope to build on the successes of previous years and show that going to the doctor isn't so scary after all." This year, 32 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'. Then the children and their teddy bears are seen by a team of Teddy Doctors and Teddy Nurses, who will examine them and decide if Teddy needs to visit the specially designed Teddy X-ray or MRI Machine. A Teddy Pharmacy will also feature, stocked with healthy fruit from Total Produce along with medical supplies from Boots to help Teddy recover. After all this excitement the children can enjoy a bouncy castle and visit an Order of Malta ambulance, sponsored by Medisource. Entertainment will be provided throughout the day by NUI Galway's Juggling Society and face painters. Recently, the Medical School at NUI Galway announced that it has been allocated additional places on its flagship undergraduate Medical programme. Students applying to study medicine this February for a September 2011 start, will see an additional 19 places made available, bringing the total number of Medicine places at NUI Galway to 118, making it the second largest Medical School for undergraduate Irish and EU students in the country. Ríona Hughes, NUI Galway's Societies Officer, said: "The Teddy Bear hospital is now established as the NUI Galway societies major community outreach programme and we are thrilled with its success. It is wonderful to invite the children and their teddies on to campus for such a great reason and it is a fantastic opportunity for the students to engage in a meaningful way with the Galway City and County schools."
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