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ICU Grandpa Comforts Babies While Parents Step Away

More volunteers to be trained after his video goes viral

En español | A story that will bring a tear to your eye centers around a man nicknamed ICU Grandpa, who has been comforting babies and children at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta for 12 years.

In a photo taken in September, he’s seen holding baby Logan. The child’s mother snapped the picture after she arrived in the morning to find him holding her baby, who was born 15 weeks early.

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Every Tuesday David Deutchman visits the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) to hold babies whose parents can’t be with them at that time. On Thursdays he volunteers at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). 

In this case, Logan’s mother left for the night to stay with her daughter. MaryBeth Brulotte told WSB-TV, "We live two hours away, and it has been hard going back and forth.” She said she always gets anxious when she steps away because she feels Logan is missing his mommy. On this morning, she was relieved to see David when she walked into the hospital room. "He had such a kind spirit.

In a video later produced by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the ICU Grandpa admits he gets puked on and peed on, but he made clear the reason he comes back week after week. It's "the kind of reward you can get from holding a baby like this.”


'ICU Grandpa', David Deutchman

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

David Deutchman has been volunteering at an Atlanta-area hospital since he retired.

Deutchman started volunteering at the hospital after he retired from a career in business. He has two daughters and two grandkids, ages 19 and 21.

Since AARP reported on this story in early October, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta announced it received a $10,000 grant from Huggies to expand their Baby Buddies initiative. The diaper manufacturer awarded the same amount of money this month to Rush University Children’s Hospital in Chicago, Brigid’s Path in Kettering, Ohio, and St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings, Mont., as part of its No Baby Unhugged program.

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta says it will use the grant to train additional volunteers as they work to meet their goal of ensuring that every baby is held. The hospital will also use part of the grant to buy books and developmental care toys that volunteers use when they hold the babies.