What Happens When a Teddy Bear Has Surgery?

Teddy Bear Clinic at Children's - Main

At Children’s Medical Center, when a teddy bear has surgery, patients like 5-year-old Nicole Martinez get to learn about their own medical journey in a way they can understand.

Plus, it’s a lot of fun, a part of childhood in short supply for many patients in the hospital.

Pamela the Bear Visits Children’s

Patients at the quarterly Teddy Bear Clinic, hosted by Child Life, get to choose their stuffed animal’s diagnosis, often identical to their own, and visit stations like Admitting, Lab, Radiology and even Surgery designed just for the miniature patients.

Earlier this month, Nicole took her bear Pamela to the Teddy Bear Clinic. Apparently Pamela had been having some stomach pain, and Nicole wanted to find out why.

Teddy Bear Clinic at Children's - Admitting

At the Admitting station, Child Life Specialist Stephanie Haynes helps Nicole fill out paperwork for Pamela.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teddy Bear Clinic at Children's - Checking Vitals

Next, Nicole checks Pamela’s vital signs. Here we see her listening to Pamela’s heart with a real stethoscope.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ebony Horace from the microbiology lab helps Nicole check to see if Pamela has any harmful microbes in her body by looking into a microscope at the Lab station.

Ebony Horace from the Microbiology Lab helps Nicole check to see if Pamela has any harmful microbes in her body by looking into a microscope at the Lab station.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nicole moves Pamela through an MRI machine to get an image that may help diagnose her bear's condition.

Nicole moves Pamela through a CT scanner to get an image that may help diagnose her bear’s condition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the X-ray station, Nicole learns that Pamela the bear has a tummy ache from swallowing a key, as seen on the X-ray image hanging behind them.

At the X-ray station, Nicole learns that Pamela the bear has a tummy ache from swallowing a key, as seen on the X-ray image hanging behind them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like every good mother, Nicole gives her brave patient a kiss before the surgical team takes Pamela back for surgery to remove the key.

Like every good mother, Nicole gives her brave patient a kiss before the surgical team takes Pamela back for surgery to remove the key.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The surgical team (actually Child Life specialists) roll Pamela into the operating room for surgery to remove a key the bear has swallowed.

The surgical team rolls Pamela into the operating room for surgery to remove a key the bear swallowed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nurse Rebecca Cooner from Advanced Practice Services, returns Pamela to Nicole after a successful surgery to remove the key. Nicole got to keep the key in a specimen bag as a souvenir of her visit to the Teddy Bear Clinic.

Nurse Rebecca Cooner from Advanced Practice Services, returns Pamela to Nicole after a successful surgery to remove the key. Nicole got to keep the key in a specimen bag as a souvenir of her visit to the Teddy Bear Clinic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before leaving, Pharmacy Resident Kelley Byrum hands Nicole some "prescriptions" (stickers) for her to give Pamela after they get home.

Before leaving, Pharmacy Resident Kelley Byrum hands Nicole some “prescriptions” (stickers) for her to give Pamela after they get home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Teddy Bear Clinic

The Teddy Bear Clinic is a form of medical play that can help patients like Nicole better understand their illness, treatments and their medical team. It also lets kids talk about their feelings and their fears in a setting where they feel safe.

What sets the Teddy Bear Clinic at Children’s apart is the involvement from all disciplines, from doctors and nurses to Radiology, Lab and the Pharmacy in collaboration with Child Life.

According to the Child Life Council, Inc., research has shown that children in the hospital who engage in medical play with a trained professional show less emotional distress and increased cooperation.

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One Response to What Happens When a Teddy Bear Has Surgery?

  1. Kate April 7, 2014 at 8:28 am #

    Having had several surgeries as a child, I can see the value in the Teddy Bear Clinic, and wish I had a similar program for me. I can well remember the terror I felt in anticipation of surgeries. I am proud to be a part of Children’s and our innovative programs.

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