David Deutchman was just a retiree looking for a chance to volunteer at the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta hospital, when he happened to bump into a new mother whose child had just been flown to the pediatric intensive care unit. When she turned to him for comfort, he decided to devote his time specifically to helping in the pediatric and neonatal ICUs, cradling recovering babies and comforting their parents. He's been doing so for twelve years now.
In a moving post on their Facebook page, Children's shouted Deutchman out for his continued and important service:
"They call him the ICU Grandpa. On Tuesdays, he visits the PICU to hold babies whose parents can’t be with them that day. On Thursdays, he makes rounds in the NICU.
This photo was taken by baby Logan’s mom as she fought back happy tears. Logan has been in our hospital for six weeks. Every night, his mom goes home to be with his big sister. Every morning, she drives back to Scottish Rite feeling 'anxious that he’s been missing his mommy.' On this particular morning, she walked into the PICU to find Logan - a preemie born at just 25 weeks - in the arms of David, who smiled and introduced himself as the ICU Grandpa. This photo captures just one precious moment with a legend of a hospital volunteer who’s been holding patients, and their parents’ hands, for 12 years."
They call him the ICU Grandpa. On Tuesdays, he visits the PICU to hold babies whose parents can’t be with them that day....
In a video interview, Deutchman explained that some of his guy friends "just don't get it, the kind of reward you can get from holding a baby like this."
Elizabeth Mittiga, a NICU nurse at Children's, explained that for these preemies, any human presence "definitely helps just feeling that comfort, that warmth. 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."
Though sadly, not all of the babies that pass Deutchman's way make it out of the ICU wards in full health, the recent Children's spotlight post brought with it a slew of people sharing their memories of him, and updates on their kids.
As he puts it, "The good times have been spending six months with a family, and the kid had ups and downs, and the kid came out great. Now the kid is 4 or 5 years old and is terrific. Those are the stories I love ... It was very worthwhile doing It was important doing."
Watch the full video below:
By now, you've probably heard about our ICU Grandpa. Here's a look at the hospital legend doing what he does best.
Posted by Children's Healthcare of Atlanta on Friday, September 29, 2017
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