Young Patients Become Doctors in Teddy Bear Surgery

March 28, 2016

Pediatric patients work alongside pediatric surgeons to look after stuffed animals

(SAN ANTONIO, TX – March 28, 2016) Being in the hospital can be scary, particularly for a child. But on Tuesday, our young patients will have a chance to take charge of someone else’s health during our Teddy Bear Surgery, where the patients become the doctors, operating on stuffed toys that they will be able to keep — and care for.

Guiding the small student doctors will be grownup surgeons, including Dr. Lilian Liao, pediatric trauma and burn director at University Hospital and assistant professor at the UT Health Science Center School of Medicine, and Dr. John R. Faust, University Health System pediatric orthopedic surgeon and assistant professor at the Health Science Center.

“Our patients will change roles, and for a little while they will no longer have to be the patient,” said Jennifer Ibarra, program manager for the Child Life team at University Hospital. “Role-playing and working alongside the doctors help lessen a child’s anxiety.”

Along with being fun, the experience can broaden a child’s perspective and help them deal with their own situation, she said.

Teddy Bear Surgery begins at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, March 29, at University Hospital, 4502 Medical Drive. Media can meet at the front lobby information desk.