Published 8:18 PM EDT Oct 4, 2018
Dr. Daniel McNeely had an unusual patient on his operating table: a stuffed teddy bear.
The Canadian neurosurgeon tweeted images of him dressed in surgical scrubs with scissors in hand, fixing the torn arm of an 8-year-old patient's teddy bear.
"Patient asks if I can also fix teddy bear just before being put off to sleep... how could I say no?" McNeely wrote in a tweet that has since gone viral.
McNeely, who works at IWK Health Centre in Halifax, was about to head into a procedure to repair a shunt for a boy who has been his patient since he was an infant.
"I was about to do his surgery to fix his shunt, and he pointed out to me that his teddy bear had a tear and asked if I could fix that up while we were at it," McNeely told USA TODAY. And, as he tweeted: "How could I say no?"
After his patient's procedure was completed, nurses helped set up a small table on the side with leftover stitches to "operate" on the boy's furry friend, McNeely said.
"I thought it was an unusual request, but I was only too happy to help if it could provide the patient with a bit of comfort," he added.
As for why the bear has an anesthesia mask over its nose? "Neonatal face mask — helps to preserve the teddy bear’s anonymity!" McNeely tweeted.
A medical resident photographed the moment, which McNeely later showed to the family. "They seemed so delighted with the pictures," he said. "It seemed to make them quite happy."
Though he had never tweeted before, McNeely decided to share the photos on social media with hopes that they might bring smiles to others' faces.
Since the Sept. 30 tweet, the doctor has garnered roughly 14,000 retweets and 30,000 likes as of Wednesday afternoon – a "overwhelming" response but one that he welcomes.
The boy's father, Rick McKie, told CBC News that the bear, named Little Baby, and his son have been together since an ultrasound before the child was born.
"He was so proud. He had Little Baby laying up in the hospital bed with him and everything," McKie told CBC News of the boy's reaction.
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