Hospital team fixes hundreds of pretend teddy bear boo-boos

Hundreds of residents get sneak peek at UCHealth Greeley Hospital before it officially opens this summer
June 15, 2019
Two girls hug their stuffed animals as a nurse pretends to tend to the stuffed animals' injuries.
Emily Garner, left, the emergency nurse manger at UCHealth Greeley Hospital, looks over Aspen, Paige and Regan Fogo’s stuffed animals during the Teddy Bear Hospital event held at the UCHealth Greeley Hospital on Saturday morning. Photo by Joel Blocker, for UCHealth.

GREELEY, Colo. (June 15, 2019) – More than 500 stuffed animals and dolls were treated with a little TLC – tender loving care – at the Teddy Bear Hospital event today at the soon-to-open UCHealth Greeley Hospital.

Clayton Giggy, left, and his brother, Cooper, wait to be treated during the Teddy Bear Hospital event held at the UCHealth Greeley Hospital.

The “patients” ranged from teddy bears and stuffed unicorns to dolls and even a stuffed Incredible Hulk. Their “ailments” ranged from tummy aches and broken legs to bumps on the heads and shark bites.

Easing children’s fears of hospitals

From the check-in to the exam with a provider and even receiving discharge instructions, about 800 parents and children got to experience what goes on during a hospital visit without the anxiety of an actual medical emergency.

Alexandra Hernadez, left, receives treatment on her teddy bear from Greeley Hospital Emergency Department Medical Director and Chief of Staff Dr. Jim Campain.

“We love putting on the Teddy Bear Hospital,” said Emily Garner, emergency nurse manager at the hospital. “The kids seem to really enjoy this experience. When they come in, they use their imaginations to make up a story about what happened to their ‘stuffie.’ Then, we treat that patient according to what happened.”

“We do this to give kids a chance to see an emergency room without having to be in an actual emergency situation,” said Dr. Jim Campain, medical director of the emergency department at UCHealth Greeley Hospital. “If any of these kids ever has a real medical emergency, I hope they’ll remember this day and feel more comfortable,” he added.

Child reaches for teddy bear.
Chloe Rae, left, places a sticker on her teddy bear after it was treated by Angela Farrington, a house supervisor at UCHealth Greeley Hospital.

Children also got a chance to check out an ambulance and sit in UCHealth’s LifeLine medical helicopter.

On Saturday afternoon, the hospital also hosted a Community Open House to give area residents an opportunity to take tours of the hospital and get to meet some of the providers and care teams who will work there. The afternoon event attracted more than 1,900 people.

“I am thrilled by the wonderful, warm welcome we received from the community today,” said Marilyn Schock, the hospital’s president. “We are excited to start caring for our patients here and loved getting to show everyone what’s in store.”

Boy reaches for a roll of medical tape
Isaiah Huang picks out medical tape for his Mickey Mouse doll.

The events were part of a full day of activities to give the community a sneak peek at Greeley Hospital, which will open this summer. The 212,000-square-foot facility is set to open with 50 inpatient beds and room to grow. The full-service hospital will feature an intensive care unit, operating rooms, a Level III trauma center and emergency department, a birth center with a Level II special care nursery, a cardiac catheterization lab and 24-hour retail pharmacy, laboratory and imaging services.

Emergency physician Dr. Jamie Teumer reassures Isabel Bashor that her doll is okay during the Teddy Bear Hospital event.

About the author

Kelly Tracer is a media relations specialist at UCHealth, based in northern Colorado. For nearly 20 years, she worked as a newspaper reporter, editor and designer before diving into the world of health care communications.

She believes there is an amazing story inside everyone and considers it an honor to get to meet and work with so many extraordinary people – patients, families, providers, volunteers and staff – every day. She is also fascinated by health care innovation and programs that empower and inspire people and families to live healthier lives.

A native of Nebraska, Kelly received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. She and her husband have two children and enjoy paddle boarding all summer and skiing all winter.