Young patients at Indiana hospital diagnose teddy bears

To help young patients understand treatment they may undergo while at the hospital, staff had them diagnose teddy bears. (Riley Hospital for Children)

March 23, 2014 7:42:30 PM PDT
Children at the Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health were busy Friday diagnosing teddy bears. The kids gave the stuffed animals shots and even put them through fake MRIs.

But it's not all fun and games. Doctors say this is part of an exercise that's designed to help the young patients understand treatments they may go through while they're staying at the hospital.

"Medical play gives kids a chance to master their hospital experience," said Sara Barnett, a manager at the hospital, in an interview with ABC News. "Allowing them to play with medical equipment familiarizes the experience and gives them healthy coping mechanisms so they won't be scared when they see a syringe or a CAT scan during treatment."

Barnett says that research backs up this "medical play."