This grandpa is described as a “treasure.” He comforts the tiniest of patients at the neonatal intensive care units of Atlanta while they are still too fragile to go home.
For the past 12 years, retiree David Deutchman has faithfully visited Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA). On Tuesdays and Thursdays, he eagerly volunteers his time by rocking babies to sleep, singing to them, and just basically loving them.
“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, it’s great!’ and they say ‘why would you do that?!’” said Deutchman.
“Some people just don’t understand the kind of reward you would get from holding a baby like this.”
Because of his relaxed and loving ways with the babies, he became known as NICU Grandpa. He speaks to the babies in a loving tone, saying “Whose my buddy?” or “It’s Ok. It’s Ok.”
Once David was filmed singing to the little tots, “you are my sunshine, my only sunshine …”
He admits that caring for the little ones just comes naturally to him, and that he cherishes every minute of it.
On one occasion, Deutchman was cradling Logan Brulette, a preemie baby who was born at 25 weeks, when Logan’s mom, MaryBeth Brulette, arrived and saw a stranger holding her baby.
She asked, “Who are you?”
“I’m the ICU grandpa,” replied Deutchman.
When she realized everything was all under control with this warmhearted stranger, she recalled, “All my anxiety and everything was gone, and I was just filled with joy.”
For six weeks, Brulette had been driving to the hospital daily, which is a two-hour round trip, to visit baby Logan, who had been born at 1 pound 15 ounces (approx. 879 grams). It’s understandable that Brulette would have been under a great deal of anxiety beforehand. However, to know that the hospital has such a caring volunteer like Deutchman would indeed be such a relief.
Deutchman said: “Every day I drive in here I don’t know what kids I’m going to meet, what parents I’m going to meet, what the issues will be and how I can help. It’s been wonderful for me.”
After Deutchman’s photo cradling Logan got shared online, many mothers commented that their own children were also comforted by NICU Grandpa. They shared their deep appreciation for Deutchman’s kindness.
One Facebook user wrote, “He rocked our baby for countless hours. What a wonderful gift he has, and what a blessing it is that he shares that love with others.”
“David took care of our Miss Madilyn when she was in the NICU. He is the greatest and we are very thankful for his kindness,” wrote another.
Another wrote: “David rocked my son every Wednesday morning during our 4 month stay. He will always hold a special place in our heart. We love him.”
Deutchman’s daughter even responded to the photo of her father and wrote: “I’ve known David as a special man for 53 years — he’s my dad! To read the thousands of comments and see the outpouring of affection is very moving to our entire family. Thank you for recognizing my dad. He truly loves what he does.”
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Photo credit: YouTube Screenshot | 11Alive.