If you love babies, then you would agree that this grandpa has the biggest heart and the best job ever: a “baby buddy” for infants in ICU care. For 12 years, David Deutchman – nicknamed by hospital staff as “ICU Grandpa” – has been helping with the needs of babies, children, and also their parents at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
Twice a week, Mr. Deutchman volunteers at the hospital to cradle sick and premature babies in ICU care when their parents are unable to.
“Some of my guy friends ask me what I do here. I say, ‘Oh, I hold babies. Sometimes, sometimes I get puked on, I get peed on. It’s great.’ And they say, ‘Why would you do that?’ They just don’t get it — the kind of reward you can get from holding a baby,” Mr. Deutchman said.
According to the elderly man, he was coming to the hospital for rehabilitation after suffering from a running injury 12 years ago. There, he met some of the patients’ mothers and had conversations with them. That’s when Mr. Deutchman realized that he wanted to be more connected with the children who were being treated at the hospital as well as their parents.
After retiring from a job in international business marketing, he began volunteering in Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
Initially, he focused on the patients in the pediatric intensive care unit. Then, he eventually added the ones in the neonatal intensive care unit.
“It’s been wonderful because it gives me something to do that has meaning to it. Every day I drive in here, I don’t know which kids and parents I’m gonna meet and what the issues will be and how can I help,” Mr. Deutchman said. “It’s been wonderful for me.”
Now, the senior has arranged a schedule that will allow him to spend equal time with the two units. On Tuesdays, he holds babies in the PICU and on Thursdays, he makes rounds in the NICU.
“In the PICU, they have two to three new admits every night so the first thing I do is visit the moms who were admitted the previous night. Usually, they need a break or someone to talk to. And I make sure they can go down for breakfast and I’ll stay with their child until they get back. I think in PICU I spend more time with the parents. … Whereas in NICU, it’s the reverse,” he shared.
Elizabeth Mittiga, a NICU nurse at the hospital, says that the staff is grateful for Mr. Deutchman’s devotion to his cause. He’s a great blessing to babies in the ICU care.
“He’s just a really special person to us, as nurses, and our babies just adore him. So we’re so grateful for him to be a part of our unit and to be a baby buddy,” she said.
Mr. Deutchman has two children of his own who are in their 50s and grandchildren aged 19 and 21. The selfless man says that he has no plans of retiring.
“Right now, I’m still going strong and enjoying it an awful lot. So as long as they’ll have me, I’ll be there,” he said.
Check out the video below to see Mr. Deutchman in action as “ICU Grandpa”.
What an outstanding human being! Truly, Mr. Deutchman is the epitome of a selfless man with a sincere desire to make his life worthwhile by helping others.