'ICU Grandpa' comforts and cradles babies at hospital: 'I love it'

A baby boy rests comfortably in the arms of David Deutchman as he sings “You Are My Sunshine” and rocks the infant to sleep in the neonatal intensive care unit of an Atlanta hospital.

Deutchman, also known as “ICU Grandpa” to parents and staff, has volunteered in the NICU and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit of the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Hospital for more than 12 years.

The surrogate grandpa visits the hospital twice a week to cradle babies who need extra attention.

Read: OBGYN Didn't Realize Her Own Water Broke as She Was Delivering Babies

“Some of my guy friends ask me what I do here and I tell them ‘Well I hold babies.’ I told them ‘I get puked on, I get peed on it, it’s great,’” Deutchman said. “They just don’t get it, the kind of reward you can get from holding a baby like this. I love it.”

RELATED: Young patients drive themselves to the operating room at Rady Children's Hospital

17 PHOTOS
Young patients drive themselves to the operating room at Rady Children's Hospital
See Gallery
Young patients drive themselves to the operating room at Rady Children's Hospital
Andrea Destraio, 5, slaps hands with medical staff and invited police officers whose charity donated to Rady Children's Hospital to start a program that uses remote control cars to take young patients to the operating room, in San Diego, California, U.S. September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Doctor Daniela Carvalho uses a remote control device as Rady Children's Hospital unveil a program that uses remote control cars, donated by the local police officers charity, to take young patients to the operating room, in San Diego, California, U.S. September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Andrea Destraio, 5, slaps hands with San Diego Harbor police officer Aldo Gutierrez and other officers whose charity donated to Rady Children's Hospital to start a program that uses remote control cars to take young patients to the operating room, in San Diego, California, U.S. September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Doctor Daniela Carvalho controls Andrea Destraio, 5, remotely as Rady Children's Hospital unveil a program that uses remote control cars, donated by the local police officers charity to take young patients to the operating room, in San Diego, California, U.S. September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Doctor Daniela Carvalho controls Andrea Destraio, 5, remotely as Rady Children's Hospital introduces a new program that uses remote control cars, donated by the local police officers charity, to take young patients to the operating room, in San Diego, California, U.S. September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Doctor Daniela Carvalho controls Andrea Destraio, 5, remotely as Rady Children's Hospital unveil a program that uses remote control cars, donated by the local police officers charity, to take young patients to the operating room, in San Diego, California, U.S. September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Doctor Daniela Carvalho controls Jonathan Jauregui, 7, remotely as Rady Children's Hospital unveil a program that uses remote control cars, donated by the local police officers charity, to take young patients to the operating room, in San Diego, California, U.S. September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Doctor Daniela Carvalho controls Jonathan Jauregui, 7, remotely as Rady Children's Hospital unveil a program that uses remote control cars, donated by the local police officers charity, to take young patients to the operating room, in San Diego, California, U.S. September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Doctor Daniela Carvalho controls Jonathan Jauregui, 7, remotely as Rady Children's Hospital unveil a program that uses remote control cars, donated by the local police officers charity, to take young patients to the operating room, in San Diego, California, U.S. September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Doctor Daniela Carvalho controls Jonathan Jauregui,7, remotely as Rady Children's Hospital unveil a program that uses remote control cars, donated by the local police officers charity, to take young patients to the operating room, in San Diego, California, U.S. September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Doctor Daniela Carvalho controls Jonathan Jauregui, 7, remotely as Rady Children's Hospital unveil a program that uses remote control cars, donated by the local police officers charity, to take young patients to the operating room, in San Diego, California, U.S. September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Doctor Daniela Carvalho controls Jonathan Jauregui, 7, remotely as Rady Children's Hospital unveil a program that uses remote control cars, donated by the local police officers charity, to take young patients to the operating room, in San Diego, California, U.S. September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Doctor Daniela Carvalho controls Jonathan Jauregui, 7, remotely as Rady Children's Hospital unveil a program that uses remote control cars, donated by the local police officers charity, to take young patients to the operating room, in San Diego, California, U.S. September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Jonathan Jauregui, 7, leaves his room and wheelchair for an awaiting car as Rady Children's Hospital unveil a program that uses remote control cars, donated by the local police officers charity, to take young patients to the operating room, in San Diego, California, U.S. September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Doctor Daniela Carvalho controls Jonathan Jauregui, 7, remotely as Rady Children's Hospital unveil a program that uses remote control cars, donated by the local police officers charity, to take young patients to the operating room, in San Diego, California, U.S. September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Dr. Daniela Carvalho (L) controls remotely as Andrea Destraio, 5, slaps hands with police officers who donated money to Rady Children's Hospital, as they unveil a program that uses remote control cars to take young patients to the operating room, in San Diego, California, U.S. September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Deutchman began spending time with infants when he retired from his career in international business.

“It’s been wonderful because it gives me something to do that has meaning to it,” Deutchman said. “I drive in here [and] I don’t know which kids and parents I am going to meet and what the issues will be and how can I help, it’s been wonderful for me.”

Deutchman has two daughters who are in their 50s and two grandchildren who are now 19 and 21.

The time Deutchman spends with the babies is truly invaluable, according to NICU nurse Elizabeth Mittiga.

“He’s just a special person to us as nurses and our babies just adore him so we are so grateful for him to be a part of our unit and to be a baby buddy,” Mittiga said. “We treasure him.”

Mittiga said the comfort of human touch helps babies who are growing.

“It definitely helps just feeling that comfort that warmth,” she said.  “It helps them to grow faster and put more weight on. Feeding-wise, [it] can help them digest their feeds better.”

Read: Mom-to-Be Tattoos 'It's a Boy' on Husband's Ankle in Unconventional Gender Reveal

Deutchman said every scenario is different; sometimes he cradles one twin who may have be born smaller than the other, other times he comforts babies who are sick.

“A lot of the parents have other children at home or they live farther away and it’s tough for them to get in here, so they particularly appreciate if someone can hold their baby and give them a little loving. That’s where I come in,” Deutchman said

Watch: Man Surprises Fiancee with Ferris Wheel Gender Reveal After They Lose Fetus Twin

 

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.