Galway teddies access vital healthcare services

Galway Pulse's own JP after their treatment

Galway teddies were able to access vital healthcare this week as University of Galway’s Teddy Bear Hospital returned from a two-year hiatus.

The clinic, hosted by the University’s SláinteSoc, aimed to demystify many of the procedures that take place in hospitals, and dispel the fear many children may have of them.

“We like to simulate the environment; it really takes away a lot of the nerves when they can see the equipment and we let them use it,” said volunteer Aoife Lawlor.

Many of the furry patients were accompanied by children who had never been inside a hospital before. Seeing that the procedures cause no harm to their teddies helps to dispel the fear they have themselves.

“When we get the chance to slow down and explain things, they understand and it does take away that fear.”

The event received favourable reviews from patients according to SláinteSoc Public Relations Officer Siobhán O’Connell.

“They love it. They’ve really been able to use their imagination for it and the feedback we’ve gotten has been really good. Their teddies have all gone home safe and sound and all healed,” she said.

A volunteer stitches up a catepillar teddy
A catepillar receives life-saving treatment from a SláinteSoc volunteer

A range of injuries and maladies were on display. They demonstrated the vital role that the Teddy Bear Hospital plays in Galway’s teddy community. Car accidents, falls from beds, and even one patient whose symptoms put them “near death”, were diagnosed, treated, and cured at a breakneck pace.

The hospital contrasts with other sections of the health service. Wait times for the teddies have been very short; averaging only ten minutes. Siobhán says that a patient can typically expect their entire treatment to last just under an hour.

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