Andrea Dimitrov and Tristiana Dalchand, second year medical students from NUI Galway and organisers of the Teddy Bear Hospital, with "Super Mario" robot. The robot is part of the Care Connect project which is being used in the Galway University Hospital's Paediatric Unit as a communication platform for children and their families while visiting restrictions are in place. Photo: Aengus McMahon.

Has your teddy a sore ear? Bring him to the Teddy Bear Hospital!

Virtual appointments with NUI Galway medical students

For the 16th year running NUI Galway is inviting children to its award winning Teddy Bear Hospital, which will take place online on Saturday 17th April from 12pm-3pm.

Over the years, children have attended the hospital with teddy bears suffering from an imaginative range of sore ears, sick tummies and all kinds of other weird and wonderful ailments. This year, childrens’ appointments will be carried out virtually, and will educate the children on how to treat their sick teddy at home.

The event is organised by the Sláinte Society, NUI Galway’s health promotion society that focuses on promoting all aspects of physical and mental health. Up to 50 medical, healthcare and science students will diagnose and treat the teddy bears. In the process, they hope to help children, ranging in age from four to eight years, feel more comfortable around doctors and hospitals.

Tristiana Dalchand, second year medical student at NUI Galway and co-auditor of Sláinte Society, said: “Given the current circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic, we believe it’s really important to maintain engagement with as many children as possible through the Teddy Bear Hospital. We hope to remind children and their teddies that the doctor’s office and hospitals remain a fun, comfortable, and safe space.”

On arrival at the virtual Teddy Bear Hospital, participants and patients will be greeted by two teddy doctor specialists. The children and their ‘patients’ will learn how to take care of their teddy’s health through three main themes: general health, lifestyle, and emotional wellbeing.

Andrea Dimitrov, second year medical student at NUI Galway and co-auditor of Slainte Society said: “Covid-19 has been challenging for all of us and we hope to provide an engaging, fun, and educational event that the children can participate in and interact with each other. This pandemic has highlighted the importance of community, and we hope to continue bringing the community together through the Teddy Bear Hospital.”

Due to limited capacity of this year’s virtual Teddy Bear Hospital, the Sláinte Society is also holding a drawing contest. Children are encouraged to submit a drawing of themselves and their teddies to be in with a chance of winning one of two €50 vouchers for Smyths Toy Store.

To enter the drawing contest, please email submissions to and include, name, age, and hometown. The closing date for submissions is Wednesday 14th April, and the two winners will be announced on Saturday 17th April.

Places for the virtual Teddy Bear Hospital are limited. To apply to attend the hospital please visit by 5pm on Wednesday, 14th April. Those selected to attend will be contacted by Thursday 15th.

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