Two years ago I first got acquainted with the IFMSA Teddy Bear Hospital, an event for school children to get to know the hospital in a playful and fun way, and not as a patient. They bring along their teddy bears, penguins, elephants, cats and dogs, and tell the ‘doctor’ (medical students) what’s wrong, whether it’s a bruised paw, a broken tail, crooked beaks or a big belly. There’s a pharmacy and an OR, and they can have an “X-ray” (not a real one of course) taken and paws casted. The kids love it!
This year I joined again for the afternoon for WKZ patients and their teddy bears. Some came downstairs to the kids theater (where everything was set up), but some were too sick to go, so I was one of the lucky doctors to go upstairs and bring the suitcase. Everything was filmed for the hospital’s own television program, and I was followed on my visits to two children and their teddy bears. They interviewed me and the children, and then I played with the children to cure their bears. One cute little guy with Down’s syndrome totally tricked me, as he took control of the situation, played doctor himself, and then said: “HAHA, it was a joke, Cow is fine.” Hilarious boy! Another patient I visited was quite special, as he didn’t speak and made gurgling noises. So together with the journalist we played out the curing of his teddy, and according to his mother he enjoyed it. A very special experience for me!
Upon going downstairs, we came across three little girls with their dolphin teddies. I took them on and asked questions about the dolphins’ problems (stomach ache). We took X-rays and saw a biiiiiig belly, which should be cured of course. So we chose the right pills, and the girls drank a magical potion from a syringe so that the stomach ache would disappear. Then we went into the OR for surgery. I dressed them up in small OR suits and we went to work. They loved it. The dolphins were cured! They received a pharmacy diploma, a box of pills (candy) and were photographed (and filmed, as I was their doctor) everywhere they went. The moms loved it too!
At the end of the day there was a game to be played outside. “Skipper, can I cross. Yes or no?” The skipper was a huge bear (a student dressed up, in this heat!), and at round three he collapsed. Oh no! But then, luckily, the ambulance was there! The kids helped the ambulance guy to put some bandages on the bear’s arms and legs and inject him with honey, and then he was fine again. As the icing on the cake, each and every kid was allowed to sit in the ambulance and push the red button that turned on the siren.
It was a hot day, but I loved it. Moreover, the kids loved it!