WI teddy bears helping young X-ray patients

Paediatric radiologist Ed Kirkham with Jessica Young and Sandra Scott of Dalham and Gazeley WI with

Paediatric radiologist Ed Kirkham with Jessica Young and Sandra Scott of Dalham and Gazeley WI with some of the string teddies made for young X-ray patients at West Suffolk Hospital Picture: My WISH - Credit: My WISH

String teddies from the Women’s Institute are helping children and staff at West Suffolk Hospital.

The bears made by Dalham and Gazeley Women's Institute are used to help carry out X-ray examinations on young patients.

WI members Sandra Scott, Jess Young, Pam Whybrew and Jean Howlett began making the bears after a talk by Ed Kirkham, a paediatric radiologist at the hospital in Bury St Edmunds and who lives in Gazeley.

He said: "When we undertake paediatric x-ray examinations there are times parents have to stand away from the child, often behind a screen.

"These examinations can be distressing and scary for the patient. Our magic string teddies have a length of string attached.

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"The child holds the teddy and the parent can hold the other end from behind the screen, creating a psychological link that children find reassuring and calming.

"This means our paediatric patients are more co-operative and ultimately can lead to better images and lower radiation doses.

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"Because the teddies are single use, the child gets to keep the teddy afterwards and they have proven a big hit, both with staff and patients."

Debbie Saldana, the President of the WI group, said between 23 and 24 teddies had been specially knitted by the four members and handed over to the hospital.

"Ed approached us to come up with a way to relax the young patients when they are scanned," said Debbie.

"The WI ladies found a pattern and we handed them (the teddies) over to Ed and they are using them with great success.

"Because of the radiation the parents have to be outside the scanning unit and they have one end of the ribbon attached to the teddy and as soon as the scan is finished the ribbon is discarded and the patient can keep the teddy.

"We were glad that we were able to help out Ed and the hospital."

Sue Smith, head of fundraising for the My WiSH Charity, said: "What an innovative idea these string teddies are.

"They will make such a difference psychologically to our young patients and we are incredibly grateful to the WI for providing them."

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