Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Teddy Bear Hospital

Yesterday might have been one of the most interesting days of my medical education thus far. Because they won't let us work on real patients...we worked on teddy bears instead.

Okay so it was for community service. But, it was so much fun and more medically oriented than half of the things that I've done since starting medical school. About ten people participated and we all met at one of the local international schools where the kids speak English. Someone had build little medical devices like an x-ray and MRI machine and we also had an excess of bandaids, gauze, tongue depressors and what not. 

So how this worked was that first, the twenty-five kids who ranged from ages 4 to 8 came in with their bears to the registration desk where three of us asked them their names, how old they were, what their bears names were and finally what was wrong with their bear. Some kids insisted that their was nothing wrong with their bears while another (boy of course) said that his bear had pain in the "femoral/groin" area. I about died laughing. 

The OR
Once they were done "checking in" we sent them with their registration slip to the next table which we'll just call the general care table. At this table we had a bunch of stuff you might find in a kids playschool doctors bag, we examined the bears let the kids try out the stethoscopes we brought, play with the blood pressure cuff, take the bears temperature, and even let the kids give the bears shots. Some of the kids immediately at the word shot ripped their bear off the table and insisted that their bear did NOT need one. If they needed it we put a bandaid on the bear or splinted its arms/legs with the stuff we had. 

After general care the kids were sent to imaging where we explained that this is how they take pictures of the inside of the bears bodies. Once the bear came out of imaging we had a few x-rays to show them of what the "bears" arms and legs looked like. The only issue with this was that we only had x-rays of the chest and skull and MRI's of the abdomen so when the bear had a broken arm or leg we kind of had to make it up and point to random things saying, "oh yeah looks broken!" Only one caught on and pointed out that the x-ray we were saying was the leg was actually of the lungs. Whoops. 

Finally, after imaging we sent the kids to surgery. Where we had gloves and masks and even smocks for them. We explained the importance of washing hands here and all about how germs can make you sick. And then we let the kids "operate" on their bears with fake scalpels and forceps. I think most kids enjoyed this part the most. 

When all the bears were treated and healthy we sat the kids down and did an assembly teaching them about what do do if they get sick and how to avoid getting sick, we also went over what to do in an emergency. 

Overall, it was a GREAT experience. It was nice to catch a glimpse of why I wanted to become a doctor in the first place, which is something that I seem to be forgetting quite often these days. And the kids were just so darn cute!!!

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