Why This Grandpa Spent the Last 12 Years Cuddling Babies

An amazing service for those who need it the most


(Kristina Bessolova / Shutterstock.com)

David Deutchman might seem like just any regular grandpa with loving eyes and a kind smile. But the former international marketing executive is anything but regular.

After retiring from his job in 2000 Deutchman became a guest lecturer at Atlanta-area universities, but still felt that something was lacking from his life. After a rehab appointment for an injury he sustained, he decided to stop at the nearby Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and offered his services as a volunteer.

Given his experience as a lecturer, Deutchman started out in the hospital's school for long-term patients. After two heartwrenching experiences with parents of some of the small children at the hospital, he finally knew what he wanted to do with his time.

Every week for the past 12 years Deutchman has come to the hospital’s intensive care unit to cuddle and whisper words of encouragement to the tiniest babies and has become known as the ICU Grandpa. Deutchman holds the babies whose parents can’t be with them for various reasons and showers them with the love they need.

"Sometimes I get puked on, I get peed on. It's great," he says in a video posted by Children's. Deutchman's friends ask why he'd put up with that. "They just don't get it, the kind of reward you can get from holding a baby like this," he says.

A photo posted on Children's Facebook page shows Deutchman holding Logan, who was born at 25 weeks. Within hours, the post had been shared more than 160,000 times and brought Deutchman thousands of admiring comments, lauding him for his efforts.

Cradling fragile babies has been shown to improve their health, said Elizabeth Mittiga, a NICU nurse at Children's. "It definitely helps just feeling that comfort, that warmth," Mittiga told CNN. "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."

Thousands of children and parents were the lucky recipients of Deutchman's special service in the past 12 years, and judging by how much he seems to enjoy his work, thousands more will follow in the years to come.

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