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Teddy Bears Find Cures at Hospital

If your child's Teddy Bear, Barbie Doll, Jedi Knight, stuffed Elmo or any other "best friend" is feeling under the weather, Greenwich Hospital is on call for treatment. Well, kind of.

Greenwich Hospital's twelfth annual Teddy Bear Clinic takes place this Sunday, Sept. 26 from noon to 3 p.m. Children are invited to bring their favorite stuffed animal or doll for evaluation and treatment -- or maybe just for some chitchat -- by doctors, nurses and other health professionals from more than 30 hospital departments and specialties. Among the make-believe procedures, X-rays, ultrasound, surgery, splints or stitches may be "prescribed." Perhaps a "button-ectomy" will be in order for some "patients." It depends on what the doctor orders.

Dr. Toni Salvatore, Greenwich Hospital's pediatric medical director, sums up the event with a perfect diagnosis: "The Teddy Bear clinic is our pretend hospital for kids. Role-playing is the best way for kids to learn, and this is a perfect opportunity for them to do so."

The event is an unusually friendly way for children to learn about healthy habits, as well as to put a happy face on what can be perceived by children as scary topics. Dr. Salvatore says, "Kids can come in seeking 'emergency treatment' for their Teddy Bear, or maybe choose an X-ray for them -- or a shot." Perhaps they'll even drape a stethoscope over their shoulders to see how a career in the healthcare field fits.

It will be a busy and fun afternoon of hands-on learning, with lots of participants on hand. (Last year's event drew more 1,500 participants.)

Children ages 3-12 (who are accompanied by an adult) are welcome to visit the Teddy Bear Clinic. It's free, and healthy snacks are available. The event will take place under tents in the parking lot of the Greenwich Medical Building, 49 Lake Ave. (directly behind the hospital). Parking will be available in the hospital's staff parking lot next door. Go to Greenwich Hospital for more information.

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