Teddy Bear Hospital
Teddy Bear Hospital Dror Miller

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 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, eyes, heart, brain, healthy lifestyle, labs, and ear, nose and throat. Stations were also set up by Magen David Adom, the Israel Police, BeTerem, and the IDF.

"It's amazing here," said Einav Pony, whose eight-year-old daughter, Lidar, most enjoyed the makeshift pharmacy. "People come here every year and each year a new, creative and innovative touch is introduced," she added of the Teddy Bear Hospital, which has taken place annually over the last decade.

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.

Prof. Karl Skorecki, Dean of the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine of Bar-Ilan University, said: "After two years of COVID and dozens of tests these children had to undergo, we now have a chance to show them alternative treatment. By treating their teddy bears we demonstrate different aspects of medicine, teach them about the human body and try to alleviate their concerns."

Prof. Skorecki extended special thanks to Freddy Singer, who each year contributes to the creation of the Teddy Bear Hospital, and for Matat's contribution to the community in northern Israel.

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.