A man from Atlanta retired to spend the rest of his life cuddling premature babies

During his 15-year retirement, a man in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, cradled premature babies and provided support to struggling parents at his local hospital.

David Deutchman found an unusual way to fill his time after retiring from his career in sales in 2005. He spent the next 15 years cuddling premature babies and comforting their parents, becoming known as “The Baby Whisperer” and “ICU Grandpa”.

Once he retired, he decided to volunteer in a hospital and, after meeting the mothers of two patients, he knew he wanted to work with the hospital’s smallest patients.

“The Baby Whisperer”

He then learned about the “baby buddy” program at Scottish Rite Hospital, which invites volunteers to visit PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) and NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) wards and comfort small babies born prematurely or with other special medical needs.

When David Deutchman first started working for the hospital, he was given a baby to hold. The child life person walked by and asked, “Hey, do you hold babies?”. 

“I’ve got a job for you. I loved it”.

He spent every Tuesday in the PICU and every Thursday in the NICU holding tiny babies in his arms and comforting them when their parents could not.

David said, “Before you knew it, I was holding little babies”. “And [the years] have just flown by”.

He was particularly adept at calming distressed babies. “When he holds a baby, you can clearly see the baby relax because he’s so relaxed”, clinical nurse expert Angie Hawthorne said.

“Holding a mom’s hand is just as important as holding a baby”.

David wasn’t just there for the babies.

“I talk to mothers, and sometimes I hold their hands, because holding a mom’s hand is as important as holding a baby.”

Parents are under a lot of stress, he said. When somebody tells them they can go get breakfast and assures them I’ll be there with their baby, it means something to them. “It matters”.

By 2017, Deutchman had comforted 1,200 babies and their grateful parents.

86-year-old David Deutchman passed away on 14 November 2020 after a short 17-day battle with stage IV metastatic pancreatic cancer.

His daughter, Susan Lilly, told CNN, “We are grateful for every moment we got with this great husband, father, and grandfather.”

Right to Life UK spokesperson Catherine Robinson commented that David’s simple but important service meant so much to these babies and their families, and he demonstrated that it is possible to be pro-life in unusual ways. David’s selflessness will hopefully inspire others to help premature babies and their mothers in these difficult circumstances.

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