Some babies need a little more extra attention when they’re first born and one kind-hearted retiree, christened the ‘ICU Grandpa’ is proving that he’s just the man for the job.
David Deutchman, 82, earned himself the nickname – as well as the moniker ‘Fairy Godfather’ – after volunteering at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, where he has been happily helping out in the pediatric and neonatal ICUs for 12 years, offering care and support to preemie babies – and their parents – as best he can.
On Tuesdays, David visits the PICU to hold babies whose parents can’t be with them. and on Thursdays, he makes rounds in the NICU to share some words of kindness with families, according to a Facebook post from the hospital.
ICU Grandpa: David Deutchman has been volunteering in the Children’s Healtcare of Atlanta PICU and NICU for 12 years, offering care to babies like Logan, who was born at just 25 weeks
Care and attention: The 82-year-old sits and holds babies whose parents can’t be with them, noting this includes getting puked and peed on, but that it is still a rewarding experience
Making a difference: The international business retiree has been volunteering at the hospital for 12 years and said he wanted to do ‘something that had meaning to it’
In their post, David can be seen holding Logan, a premature baby born at just 25 weeks, smiling and cradling the tiny infant.
Logan has been in the hospital for six weeks and every night, Logan’s mom goes back home to be with Logan’s big sister but on one particular morning when she returned to the hospital, she was met by the ‘ICU Grandpa’.
Logan’s mom fought back tears but managed to capture the heartwarming moment in a photo that has since gotten more than 200,000 likes.
But it was never about fame for the international business retiree as he just wanted to do something that ‘has meaning to it’.
Something special: A nurse at the hospital said that the babies benefit from the cradling, explaining, ‘Any human presence definitely helps just feeling that comfort, that warmth’
‘Some of my guy friends, they ask me what I do here. And I say, well, I hold babies. I get puked on, I get peed on and they say why would you do that,’ David told 11 Alive.
‘Some people just don’t understand the kind of reward you would get from holding a baby like this.’
The premature babies also greatly benefit from the human interaction.
‘Any human presence definitely helps just feeling that comfort, that warmth,’ Elizabeth Mittiga, a NICU nurse at the hospital told Cosmopolitan.
‘It definitely helps them to, I think, grow faster and put more weight on, and feeding-wise, can help them digest their feeds better and things like that.’
Touching: Baby Logan’s mom, MaryBeth Brulotte, said that knowing someone cares for her child and is so selfless is such a ‘blessing’
Meaningful: Hearing the recovery stories about the babies he used to hold is fulfilling for the father of two, who has two daughters in their 50s and two grandchildren that are 19 and 21
For Logan’s mom, MaryBeth Brulotte, it certainly made a difference.
‘We live two hours from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and seeing him all snuggled up when I got there was such a blessing,’ MaryBeth told USA Today.
‘Knowing this man is so selfless and donates his time to these babies is such a blessing.’
David said its rewarding knowing that a kid ‘came out great’ after spending six months with a family and seeing their ups and downs.
‘Now the kid is four or five years old and is terrific. Those are the stories I love.’
David has two daughters in their 50s and two grandchildren that are 19 and 21.