Persons are looking into the camera Copyright: © Fachschaft Medizin

The Teddy Bear Hospital (TBK) project has partners all over Germany, with the RWTH Faculty of Medicine representing the project in Aachen. The project aims to assuage children's fears of going to the doctor or hospital by having the children bring their injured cuddly toys to the hospital for treatment – and they see it's not so bad there after all. This year, the event was finally able to return to an in-person format at the Center for Teaching and Training CT².

"Our teddy docs examined the little patients with the utmost care," explains RWTH medical student Larissa Bilo. "We had an X-ray, MRI, lab, ultrasound, and surgery area set up again this year, as well as a general examination ward." A new feature this time around was the coronavirus testing ward. "We used pH paper strips for the tests, so you can really see something," described Franziska Hufnagel from the TBK team. "Plus we had a vaccination ward with a TIKO (TBVC) vaccination calendar issued by the Teddy Bear Vaccination Commission."

With furry arms in casts and stethoscopes used for listening to fluffy chests, the kids are very enthusiastic – even though most realize the whole thing is a game. "Once a boy whispered to me, 'You know my bear's not real, right?"' says Larissa, laughing. "We remember comments like those, of course."

To avoid mixing daycare groups, the team has arranged the appointments so they are now more spaced out than in the past. "This has been well received, but has taken more time," says Franziska. "To be able to see as many daycare centers as possible, we're doing home visits until the end of June. That's a lot of fun, too."