NICU Grandpa's story goes viral

Mindy Sparks
October 1, 2017

And it's earned him the moniker "ICU Grandpa".

The viral post tells the story of Deutchman and baby Logan, a baby boy born at 25 weeks who has been in the hospital for nearly two months.

The kind hearted hospital volunteer, nicknamed the "ICU Grandpa", has been publicly recognised by Children's Healthcare of Atlanta for his efforts to comfort parents and young babies.

Though it may not seem like much, what Deutchman does is actually very important, not just to the parents who have to leave their children in the hospital but also to the babies themselves.

According to a Facebook post from CHOA posted September 27, David Deutchman visits the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) every Tuesday to hold and comfort babies while their parents can't be there. "On Thursdays, he makes rounds in the NICU".

Logan's mother, MaryBeth Brulette, has been back and forth between the hospital and her home for about six weeks.

"He comes and snuggles when mommies and daddies have to take showers or eat, or be with brothers and sisters", she said. Every morning, she drives back to Scottish Rite feeling "anxious that he's been missing his mommy". "Because it was so precious and he was so cozy in his arms and Grandpa was just as happy as can be, as if it was his own grandchild", she said.

By Friday morning, the post had been shared over 40,000 times and received over 130,000 likes and reactions. But, not everyone understands his love for his role as a volunteer cuddler.

"Some of my guy friends, they ask me what I do here". I get puked on, I get peed on, ' and they say why would you do that?!

"I talk with mothers and sometimes I hold their hand, because holding a mom's hand is just as important as holding a baby", he says. He told reporters that his volunteer work with CHOA is the best job he's ever had.

CHOA followed up the touching photos with a video of Deutchman singing "You are My Sunshine" to another baby.

"Research has shown that the care that Cuddlers give to babies helps lead to shorter hospital stays, quicker weight gain and improvement in development", New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital writes on their website. What they found was that among preterm babies, supportive experiences result in strong brain responses to touch stimuli, whereas painful experiences such as tube insertions result in reduced brain responses to the same touch stimuli.

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