Young Patients at Indiana Children’s Hospital Diagnose Stuffed Bears

By Jaime Lutz

Mar 22, 2014 12:40pm
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: Kaylynn Ricketts gives a shot to a bear during the Teddy Bear Clinic at Riley Hospital for Children, Friday, March 21, 2014. (Riley Hospital for Children)

These bears are expected to make a full recovery.

Kids at the Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health diagnosed teddy bears on Friday, giving the stuffed animals shots, putting medical bracelets on their plush arms and putting them through fake MRIs.

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Zachary Landis puts a bear through a play MRI machine during the Teddy Bear Clinic at Riley Hospital for Children, Friday, March 21, 2014. (Riley Hospital for Children)

Doctors say the exercise is designed to help children understand some of the treatments they may undergo during their hospital stay.

“Medical play gives kids a chance to master their hospital experience,” said Sara Barnett, a manager at the hospital. “Allowing them to play with medical equipment familiarizes the experience and gives them healthy coping mechanisms so they won’t be scared when they see a syringe or a CAT scan during treatment.”

According to Barnett, research backs up this kind of “medical play,” which is used routinely by the hospital.

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Jason Griggs receives a bear from volunteer Virginia Wesfall during the Teddy Bear Clinic at Riley Hospital for Children, Friday, March 21, 2014. The clinic lets children learn about different kinds of medical treatment by playing with teddy bears. (Riley Hospital for Children)

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