On a recent morning, a woman walked into the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and saw a stranger holding her baby.
The stranger was an older, bespectacled man. He was sitting in a chair and draped in a thin medical smock, gently rocking her infant son, Logan.
Logan had been in the NICU for six weeks after being born prematurely and needed around-the-clock care. His mom was there to hold him as often as she could be, but as she was making her way to the hospital that morning, the man, David Deutchman, was happy to step in.
They call him the "ICU Grandpa." And he's been offering snuggles as an official volunteer at the hospital for 12 years.
In a now super-viral Facebook post, the hospital wrote that Deutchman has a very specific cuddling schedule: on Tuesdays he visits the older babies and kids in the PICU (pediatric intensive care unit), and on Thursdays he visits with the newborns in the NICU.
Logan's mom isn't the only one who's met the hospital "legend" — the social media post, which has been shared over 47,000 times, is overflowing with comments from parents who've been touched by his kindness and generosity.
You can read the entire thing below:
For young kids, and newborns especially, human contact and warmth is an essential part of survival.
It's been scientifically demonstrated that newborns with access to food and shelter but no love or bonding, are unlikely to thrive. For this reason, volunteer cuddlers are common at hospitals around the country.
We won't hold it against you if Deutchman isn't immediately what came to mind when you heard "volunteer cuddler." He says his guy friends don't really get it either.
"I tell them, 'I hold babies. Sometimes I get puked on, I get peed on. It's great,'" he says in a video put together by Children's Healthcare. But he says that "they just don't get it, the kind of reward you can get from holding a baby like this."
That's the kind of attitude that's made Deutchman an overnight Internet sensation.
Rock on, ICU Grandpa. Rock on.
The ICU Grandpa of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta
By now, you've probably heard about our ICU Grandpa. Here's a look at the hospital legend doing what he does best.Posted by Children's Healthcare of Atlanta on Friday, September 29, 2017