Israeli medical school transforms into Teddy Bear hospital for a day

The annual communal-educational activity at Bar-Ilan University’s medical school aims to alleviate anxiety that children may experience toward medical professionals, medical care and hospitalization. 

By World Israel News Staff

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

The Azrieli Faculty of Medicine complex, located in Safed, was transformed into a mock hospital, with X-ray rooms, blood test facilities, an ambulance, cardiac room and more. The annual communal-educational activity, organized in cooperation with Matat — a private fund dedicated to promote educational and social activities in the Galil, founded by Freddy Singer — aims to alleviate anxiety that children may experience toward medical professionals, medical care and hospitalization.

The Teddy Bear Hospital is run by the Azrieli Faculty in cooperation with Matat founded by Freddy Singer.

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, Israel’s national emergency medical, disaster, ambulance and blood bank service; the Israel Police; BeTerem, a nonprofit organization that aims to promote child safety and create a safer environment for children; and the IDF.

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

The event provided children with the opportunity to ask questions related to illness, injury, medical treatment and more. 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.

“After two years of COVID and dozens of tests these children had to undergo, we now have a chance to show them alternative treatment, said Prof. Karl Skorecki, dean of the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine of Bar-Ilan University.

“By treating their teddy bears, we demonstrate different aspects of medicine, teach them about the human body and try to alleviate their concerns.”

Medical student Amit Gabay, director of the Teddy Bear Hospital, 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.”

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