Teddy bear doctors at work in the LUMC
The Leiden University Medical Center is being transformed into a Teddy Bear Hospital in the week of 20 to 24 March. During this week more than a thousand children will care for their favourite cuddly toy under the watchful eyes of Leiden's medical students. The aim of the event is to reduce children's fear of hospitals.
The children will visit a number of different hospital departments, starting with a consultation with a doctor, followed by radiology, surgery, the plaster room, and finally the pharmacy. 'Most children are very unsure when they first come in; a hospital is quite an intimidating environment. But in no time they're racing around all over the place. They're very curious,' says Robin Drent, a second-year medical student and one of the organisers.
Supervised by medical students, the children can 'make their cuddly toys better'. Broken limbs are quite common, with some toys having as many as four in need of repair. Fieke's cuddly toy is a bit more fortunate. 'He fell out of bed and broke his arm,' she explains. 'It was OK in the hospital, but it was very painful for him.'
For the volunteers, around 200 in total, the Teddy Bear Hospital is a good learning experience, Drent explains. ‘Most of us will work with children later, so this is a good opportunity to get some practical experience.'
IFMSA-NL,. the organiser of the event, is a national and international organisation of medical students. The students organise a range of educational projects throughout the country.