The touching tale of the "ICU Grandpa," whose mission to comfort infants in the hospital suddenly changed course after a life-altering diagnosis.
David Deutchman, The ICU Grandpa Who Cuddled Sick Babies For 14 Years In His Retirement
A man known as "ICU Grandpa" who spent the previous 14 years comforting ailing infants in a hospital's neonatal intensive care units passed away from pancreatic cancer.
Just two and a half weeks after his diagnosis, David Deutchman passed away.
When his story went viral in 2017, his volunteering won the hearts of thousands of people.
After retiring from a career in marketing, the 86-year-old man started helping at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.
He would visit infants whose parents were unable to visit them, and because of his popularity, parents began to request him.
He eventually acquired the nickname "ICU Grandpa."
Daughter Susan Lily told Today in the USA: "He had a very successful business career, and I've never heard him talk with such appreciation and love for what he was doing any time during his 41 years with the company as he talked about his involvement with the people at the hospital.”
Speaking to 11 Alive in 2017, David said: "Some of my guy friends, they ask me what I do here. And I say, 'Well, I hold babies. I get puked on, I get peed on, and they say, 'Why would you do that?'”
"Some people just don't understand the kind of reward you would get from holding a baby like this."
He kept track of the families he met and made an effort to visit them if their kids ended up back in the hospital.
His daughter Susan added: "None of us expected to get such a dire diagnosis.”
"He made it very clear to all his loved ones and even his friends that he feels grateful to have lived a full and rich life."
Parents whose kids had visited him in the hospital praised him for his voluntary work.
One mum said: "He has visited with [my son] Elijah many times over the past six years and would even stop by on our various ICU admits since."
Another added: "David was a bright spot during our almost six-month stay at CHOA.”
"He would sit with [my daughter] Victoria during her NICU days, and sing to her when I was going to get food or shower.”
David Deutchman's story reminds us that the world can be a better place when we choose to extend a helping hand, even in the most unlikely of places. His legacy serves as a beacon of light.
Inspiring others to embrace acts of kindness and compassion, proving that in the end, it's the love we give that truly defines us.
The "ICU Grandpa" will forever be a symbol of the profound impact one individual can have on the lives of many, leaving behind a legacy of love and humanity that will continue to touch hearts for generations to come.