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Teddy Bear Hospital in Vienna: crowds of children bring their soft toys

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(Vienna, 16 December 2019) Today, hundreds of children came to the opening of the Teddy Bear Hospital in Vienna, bringing along their teddy bears, cuddly toys and dolls. The soft toys were examined, treated and even underwent surgery in the outpatient clinics, with the able assistance of the young "doctors". Even Medical Association President Thomas Szekeres and Anita Rieder, Vice Rector for Education of MedUni Vienna, were allowed to assist with x-ray examinations and operations. This is now the 19th time that Vienna Medical Association has run this event, which is a joint initiative between MedUni Vienna, the Austrian Medical Students' Association (AMSA), Vienna Medical Association, St John's Ambulance and the Academic Association of Austrian Pharmacists.

The Teddy Bear Hospital will be open until Wednesday, 18 December (9:00 - 12:00 and/or 13:00 - 16:00 hrs, Vienna Medical Association, Weihburggasse 10-12). The children and their favourite toys will be looked after by more than 50 teddy bear doctors, who are all students from MedUni Vienna. The event will simulate a real hospital visit for sick cuddly toys: There is an admissions ward, an emergency room, a dental clinic and even operating theatres. You can have an ECG or a CT scan. The children are actively involved in the process, as junior doctors. The fun event has a serious purpose. Its aim is to overcome children's fear of doctor's appointments or going into hospital.

"The Teddy Bear Hospital is a great project, which has now become part of our tradition, and one which the Medical University of Vienna believes to be very important and is more than happy to support. We are delighted that it is given a great deal of personal commitment on the part of our students," says Anita Rieder, MedUni Vienna's Vice Rector for Education. "The children learn in a playful way about the potentially complex procedures in a hospital, we arouse their curiosity and address any experiences they might already have had in a hospital environment. It is hoped that they will no longer experience a visit to the doctor or hospital as strange and potentially frightening but will be able to fall back on the positive experiences they had in the Teddy Bear Hospital."

This year, Medical Association President Thomas Szekeres is once again hosting the Teddy Bear Hospital and is looking forward to welcoming all the young visitors: "There is always a great atmosphere when we convert the Medical Association's meeting rooms into a pretend hospital run by children for three days – and the children always take it all very seriously." What is important for him is that children reduce any potential anxiety about visiting the doctor or hospital at an early stage but, at the same time, he also wants to awaken their interest in a very special profession: "Perhaps some of our young guests will decide that they also want to become doctors later on."

Teddy Bear Hospital 2019 – still open until Wednesday
16 to 18 December 2019 from 09:00 to 12:00 hrs and/or 13.00 to 16:00 hrs
09:00 to 12:00 hrs: mornings exclusively reserved for school and nursery classes
13:00 to 16:00 hrs: individual children are most welcome in the afternoon and are invited to drop in with their teddy bears. Admission is free – suitable for children aged between four and eight, individuals do not need to book, for group bookings please go to: teddy-wien@amsa.at, Vienna Medical Association, Weihburggasse 10-12, 1010 Vienna. The organisers kindly request that you bring slippers or trainers with you.