Clean bill of health for teddies

Scores of children brought their teddy bears and other cuddly toys for their annual check-up at a Teddy Bear Clinic at St. Matthew’s University on Saturday.

It is the third consecutive year that St. Matthews’ medical students have volunteered their time to ensure Cayman’s teddy bears are in good health, although the main purpose of the event is to help children overcome their fear of doctors and hospitals.

Dr. Xenia Sotiriou, a professor at the university, said the students had taken time out from studying for their finals to organise the clinic.

‘The students have done an amazing job,’ she said.

As well as checking the health of the bears, who each received a certificate of good health at the end of the check-ups, the students also worked with the children to check on their development.

The kids drew pictures and took simple developmental tests, which enabled the students to do some field work outside the classroom. ‘They found a lot of the children here to be quite advanced,’ said Dr. Sotiriou.

More than 50 kids had filed through the doors of the university by 1pm on Saturday, carrying with them a bewilderingly cute array of bears, snakes, turtles and dolls.

Student Scott Zenoni hit the street to entice kids and their parents to the Teddy Bear Clinic. Dressed as a bear who had recently had abdominal surgery, his wound had been stitched up with a row of safety pins and a band-aid.

The children got to don little doctors’ coats and stethoscopes and take their toys’ temperatures, check their reflexes and examine their blood pressure.

One little girl, Leila Maw, aged four, clutching her Pooh Bear who had undergone extensive medical check-ups that morning, announced to everyone in the lift as she left, ‘I’m going to be a doctor when I grow up.’

Three-year-old Lakyn Becker got advice for her dad, medical student Kyle Becker, on how to check the heartbeat of her cuddly toy Zig Zag. Despite her doctor’s coat and pink stethoscope, Lakyn said she had other ambitions than to be a doctor when she grew up.

‘I want to be a princess,’ she said.