Littauer holds ‘Teddy Bear Hospital’

Participants in Sunday’s Teddy Bear Hospital at Nathan Littauer Hospital pose during the event. Children from the area were able to bring their favorite teddy bears, dolls or toy to have them “examined” by hospital staff. (Photo submitted)

GLOVERSVILLE — About 300 area children and families with bears, dolls, action figures and dinosaurs came to Nathan Littauer Hospital’s first annual “Teddy Bear Hospital” event, which took place Sunday.

During the free family event, the teddy bears were “treated” at the following stations:

∫ Vaccination station

∫ Respiratory — where children and friends could wear equipment to help the friend breathe better

∫ Maternity — where bears and other friends were diapered

∫Vital Signs –where lungs and ears were inspected

∫ Diagnostic imaging — where bears and other friends were X-rayed

∫ Surgery — where children gowned and gloved up before surgery on a life-sized operation game

∫ IV station

∫ Healthy plate game

∫ Casting and splints — where casts were placed on bears and other friends

∫ Egg brain station where children would try to smash an egg in simulated protective equipment

∫ Bear yoga

Coincidentally, a teddy bear was “born” in our birthing center during the event. Children could see and hold a newborn teddy bear and speak to certified nurse midwife and women’s health nurse practitioner Kelly Priddle, who “delivered” the newborn bear.

“I had the pleasure of delivering this beautiful baby bear. Her mom did a great job in labor and she is resting now. When she is ready, she will take the baby bear home,” she said to the children.

Kirsten Lennon, a mother who attended with her two children and husband, Ron, had this to say about the event: “It was an amazing event to take [our] family to learn all that Nathan Littauer has to offer this community, as well as familiarize children in a non-threatening atmosphere. My son Evan, [who is 6], loved the vaccination station. He has a huge fear of needles and it was an obstacle in his care. After the event, he said to me, ‘Mommy, I am not afraid of getting shots anymore.’ And today really helped him. Everyone was so friendly. This event took away the fear factor of the unknown of the hospital. It was also great to see so many smiling staff members. My daughter, Alexis, who is two and a half and won’t even go near the hospital, said about her doll, ‘Baby girl went to hospital today.'”

Fulton County Ambulance and Gloversville Fire Department Emergency services were also on hand. Children were able to witness LifeNet in action as they arrived, then left to respond to a real emergency. Children got to place their bear or other special friend on a stretcher and see the inside of their ambulance.

“Going to the hospital can be scary, but we want children to feel comfortable and supported here,” said Nathan Littauer Chief of Pediatric Services Maruthi Sunkara, M.D. “Events like this are a great opportunity for us to welcome members of the community — especially the littlest ones — into our facility and help them start to understand that we’re here to help, and that Nathan Littauer Hospital is a place you can go when you need to feel better.”

Dr. Michael Purcell, a new pediatrician to Nathan Littauer, worked the giant operation game throughout the event. He referred to the event as “amazing.”

“As a pediatrician, it was great to see the children having fun and being exposed to all different areas of medicine – and having a great while doing so,” he said. ” I was excited to see children exposed to all the areas of medicine and having positive interactions. I left thinking that the kids are going to have great memories of the hospital. I met a lot of wonderful families and I am happy I will be serving this fine community.”

“This event is so important to our mission. Children and their parents are frequently interacting with first responders and hospital staff when they are in trauma” Nathan Littauer Hospital’s Tammy Merendo said. “We wanted the community to get to know the hundreds of fine caregivers at Nathan Littauer in a different light — as people — who want to share the wonders of medicine. Nathan Littauer had 35 staff on hand. They are all heroes, in my eyes, and to see them having fun with children in a neutral setting was heartwarming. It was a hugely successful event.”

Maternal Child Health Manager Maureen Mosher agreed.

“I think it increased awareness about the wide range of services our hospital offers a young family,” Mosher said. “From our beautiful birthing center to our growing pediatric team, I was so proud of our hospital and our staff. I have put on a lot of diapers, but I have never put a diaper on a dinosaur until today.”