SIMI VALLEY : Teddy Bears Get Special Treatment

Teri Mandell spent four years in nursing school, trained for hundreds of hours as an emergency room nurse and has 11 years of nursing experience--all of which prepared her to treat . . . teddy bears?

The 34-year-old nurse was making splints, bandages and casts for stuffed bears Sunday afternoon at the Simi Valley Hospital "Teddy Bear Clinic"--a special program to make sudden trips to the emergency room less frightening for children.

"If they have to go to the emergency room, they're very anxious. It's a very scary situation," Mandell said as she deftly wrapped a small bandage on the arm of a large, brown teddy bear. "This is to have kids be comfortable if they have to go to the emergency room."

Mandell, one of several nurses and doctors from Simi Valley Hospital working at the clinic, softly questioned each child who brought her an injured bear and explained to them how she was treating it.

"What happened to your teddy bear?" Mandell asked of 5-year-old Jenny Modglin, who was cradling a small white teddy bear in her arms.

"He broke his arm," Jenny replied. She watched anxiously as Mandell placed a white cast on her bear. "He was climbing a tree," she added.

"This allows children to see nurses and doctors in a happy atmosphere," said Jenny's mother, Vicky Modglin. "Jenny already had stitches when she was about 3."

About 200 parents and children came with wounded teddy bears. Besides the treatment of injured teddy bears, the daylong program featured demonstrations and shows by the Simi Valley Police Department and the Ventura County Sheriff's and Fire departments.

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