This is utterly tragic...
For any parent with a baby in ICU...It's a terrifying time.
This is why one man decided to use his free time as selflessly as possible...By volunteering in his local ICU that homed hundreds of premature and unwell babies.
David Deutchman, who was dubbed as the "ICU Grandpa", spent the last fourteen years of his life cuddling the babies in intensive care units...At the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta near where he lived.
But tragically, he recently died at the age of eighty-six.His story originally went viral in 2017, with millions touched by his selflessness. And now, the news of his death has spread far and wide...
Speaking to Today, Deutchman's daughter Susan Lilly said, "Volunteering absolutely enriched his life.""The most meaningful part was the actual time he spent with these patients and their families," she explained.
Deutchman began volunteering after retiring from his career in marketing...And he would visit the hospital on Tuesdays and Thursdays to cuddle babies whose parents couldn't be with them.
His story reached so many people...And his story went viral after the hospital posted a picture of him cradling a baby back in 2017.
Lilly said her dad rejoiced in knowing he was bringing comfort to both families and babies that needed to be held."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 forty-one years with the company like he talked about his involvement with the people at the hospital," Lilly said.
Back in 2017, Deutschman himself 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?'" He said. "Some people just don't understand the kind of reward you would get from holding a baby like this."
Deutchman would always check up on families whose babies he would care for..."He would go back [to the hospital] even if it wasn't during one of his days that he volunteered — especially if they had to have a certain procedure," Lilly said. "He would go in and hold their hands or hold them."
Sadly, last November, volunteering became too straining for Deutchman after he started to deteriorate...And just before he considered retiring from his position, COVID-19 came into the picture and put everything on hold anyway.
The caring grandpa eventually saw a doctor on October 27th, only to be told some devastating news.He was diagnosed with metastatic pancreatic cancer and the very next day, he was told he should go into hospice care.
"None of us expected to get such a dire diagnosis," Lilly said."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."
The Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta planned a parade for Deutchman and his family after hearing about the news...Which they shared on Facebook for all his fans to see.
"To honor this hospital legend, who spent nearly 15 years tending to little ones in our intensive care units, our staff organized a drive-by parade outside of his home," the caption read.
"Led by one of our NICU transport trucks, a procession of nearly 30 cars — some carrying Children’s employees, some carrying patients who had been soothed by David many years ago — honked, waved, and shared well wishes as his family gathered in their driveway.
"For a grand finale, a Children’s transport helicopter circled over his home, an emotional tribute to a man who has dedicated his retirement years to watching over our kids."